Drug offenses can carry severe penalties. Equally importantly, a drug conviction can result in job loss, denial of future employment, and even housing restrictions. Most drug charges are brought following a police search. This could be a vehicle search during a traffic stop, frisking a person stopped on the street, or searching a house following a complaint about drug activity. While a search warrant is not always required, the police must always follow strict constitutional rules. A failure to comply with these rules can lead to the exclusion of evidence and, possibly, a not guilty verdict.
Other Adult Felonies & Misdemeanors
All crimes are classified as either felonies or misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are the least serious crimes, such as minor assaults, small thefts, and possession of small quantities of certain drugs. The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor is one year in jail; but probation, fines, or shorter jail sentences are more common. Felonies include the most serious crimes with sentences ranging from one year to life in prison. Any term of incarceration exceeding one year will be served in prison as opposed to the county jail.
Juvenile Felonies & Misdemeanors
In Virginia, juveniles who commit a crime are charged a bit differently because the police will obtain what is called a petition instead of seeking an arrest warrant. Proceedings in juvenile criminal cases are handled in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, where the primary goal is rehabilitation rather than punishment. However, juveniles can still face detention at a local juvenile detention center for up to 30 days or longer times at a state facility. For very serious offenses, juveniles 14 years old or older may be tried and sentenced as adults. Due to the difference in treatment between adults and juveniles, securing juvenile status can be almost equally as important as fighting for acquittal.
Preliminary Police Investigations
You do not need to wait until you have been arrested to contact a Manassas criminal defense attorney. If you become aware that the police suspect you in a crime that has already occurred or that they are investigating your activities, you can begin your defense immediately. While the police are trying to collect evidence to charge you, a criminal defense attorney can help you find favorable evidence and potentially work to convince the police not to bring charges at all.
Do you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in Manassas to fight for you? Contact Sandground, West, Silek, Raminpour & Wright, PLC today at (703) 420-7011 to schedule a free consultation.