Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate every charge, keep you updated on all of your available options and the status of your case, and work towards the best possible outcome. We aggressively defends clients in a wide range of criminal matters throughout Virginia, including the following types of felonies and misdemeanors:
The police asked me to come down to the station and just talk with them. Should I?
Do not speak with the police until you have an attorney. Miranda rights don’t apply until you are actually in custody or arrested. To avoid them, the police “ask” you to come down to the station “voluntarily” to “clear things up.” They put you in a little room with hidden cameras and microphones, where you are being videotaped without your knowing it. They use psychological interrogation techniques to get you to say things that may hurt you later in court. They are allowed to lie to you. You are not allowed to lie to them. How do you protect yourself? Don’t talk. Get a lawyer.
What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by a maximum of 12 months in jail. Felonies are more serious crimes for which the maximum penalty exceeds 12 months, and for which time is usually served in a prison system, rather than the local jail. Behaviors punishable only by fine, such as traffic tickets, are sometimes not considered crimes at all, but “infractions”.
How serious is a sex offense charge?
It is easy to accuse someone of rape or child sexual abuse, and such an accusation can make your life a living hell. It is a favorite tactic in high dollar divorce cases to accuse the now-despised ex in order to gain custody or financial advantage. It can also be a “manufactured” crime, in which a fearful or hyper-vigilant parent willfully or even unintentionally leads a young child by repeated questioning to “remember” something that never happened.
If you are innocent, you will need all your reserves of strength and courage to live through the next year. You will also need a lawyer with experience and first-class trial technique to battle against career prosecutors who make their life’s work out of these cases, and have never heard of “innocent”.
With the sex offender registry and involuntary civil commitment laws in Virginia, sex cases have become the high-stakes criminal trials of our time.
Should I contact an attorney if I am under investigation but have not been charged?
Absolutely. Representation at an early stage in a case can sometimes prevent charges from being filed. Also, having had an attorney early, during the pre-charging investigation, can greatly increase your chances of winning in court if you are charged later.
I’m being accused of sexual misconduct at the University of Virginia. What can I expect:
I have been seeing a lot of sexual misconduct cases out of UVA lately. The procedures followed in those hearings are not fair, and not what we are accustomed to in judicial proceedings in this country.
1. Right to be Silent: Your “right to be silent” is otherwise known as your 5th amendment privilege against self incrimination. The UVA proceedings are separate from any criminal charges. That means if you defend yourself in the UVA case (which almost always boils down to he said/she said), then anything you say can be used against you in criminal court. If you don’t defend yourself, then there is no he said/she said. There’s just she said.
2. Right to Counsel: Sure, you can have an attorney at the UVA proceedings. I can sit right at the table beside you — I just can’t SAY anything. Literally — I can’t SPEAK (aside from whispering in your ear) during the proceedings. “While the advisor may provide support and advice to a party at the Hearing, the advisor may not speak on behalf of the party or otherwise participate in, or in any manner disrupt, the Hearing. The University reserves the right to remove any individual whose actions are disruptive to the proceedings.” The Policy, page 15.
3. Cross-Examination: Sure, you can cross-examine witnesses at your hearing. Of course, your attorney can’t say anything — so you have to do it yourself. What’s that? You want to ask the Complainant a Question? Oh, no no no. You get to write down your “suggested” questions, and submit them to the hearing chair, and he or she will decide whether or not to ask them. “The parties may not directly question one another or any witness, although they may proffer questions for the Review Panel, who may choose, in their discretion, to pose appropriate and relevant questions of the Investigator, the parties or any witnesses.” The Policy, Page 15.
4. Presumption of Innocence: Did I mention you are found guilty BEFORE the hearing? That’s right. A “report” is issued by the “Investigator” that says you’re guilty first, and then you get to decide if you want to “appeal” it. The appeal is your first opportunity for a “hearing”. With the lawyer who can’t speak. And the chair who decides whether or not to ask your questions. But, hey — you can testify, right? Oh, wait — see #1. “When the Investigator determines that there is sufficient information, by a Preponderance of the Evidence, to support a finding of responsibility … the Respondent may accept or contest such recommended finding(s) …If the Respondent contests one or more of the recommended finding(s) … [t]he Title IX Coordinator will provide the Final Investigation Report, together with any statements by the parties, to the Review Panel for further proceedings…” The Policy pages 12-13.
5. Jury of your Peers: Come right in and sit down in front of the special panel of “trained” members of the UVA Community. I’ll bet none of them are in your Government class… But hey, if you don’t like the result of this Star Chamber process, surely you can appeal it at the end to a REAL court, right? Oops. No, you can’t. “The decision of the Review Panel is final, without further recourse or appeal by either party”. The Policy, Page 18.
6. Standard of Proof: Surely they have to prove you did whatever you’re accused of “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”, right? Nope. The standard that applies is “Preponderance of the Evidence”. That’s not even “Clear and Convincing” — it’s just basically 51%. More likely than not.
I’m not a fan of the Good Ol’ Boy system, but as an attorney, I am a fan of Constitutional Due Process. We are ruining kids’ lives here – and surely given the DNA exonerations in the criminal process, which HAS all these protections — surely SOME of the kids whose lives we are ruining are innocent.
What is your fee structure?
We handle cases on a flat fee or hourly basis. We will often be able to talk to you on the phone and quote you a flat fee for misdemeanors, traffic infractions and pre-charging felonies. In some charged felony cases, we can quote a fee over the phone. In others, we may need to meet with you or your family and gather further information. We do consultations at an hourly rate. At the end of the consultation, we can determine the appropriate fee structure for your case, and you can evaluate our services and decide if you want to hire us to defend your case. We accept all major credit cards to assist with payment. Don’t wait — Contact us today for your initial consultation
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