Ask Your Questions: Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorneys Answer

The Taylor Law Company understands that if you are accused of a crime in Fairfax, you have all sorts of questions about your rights, about what you are up against, about what your future may look like. Take a look at our frequently asked questions, complete with informative answers, and see if they help; if they don’t, feel free to request a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our capable DUI/criminal defense lawyers.

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  • My attorney says they can take care of my arraignment without me going but my bondsman said I had to go to all court dates. Who should I trust?

    When a bondsman helps post your bond they give you conditions to abide by as terms of posting the bond for you.  One of those conditions of bond for the court and the bondsman is that you appear at all court dates. However, some counties allow an attorney to handle your arraignment for you if you have already hired an attorney.  This saves you from going to court.  Your attorney will know if the county where you are charged will waive your appearance at arraignment.

  • What happens if I appeal my case that is heard in General District or Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court?

    When you note an appeal on a case in any of the District Courts in Virginia, it takes away the conviction that you have and you start fresh in the Circuit Court.  You will have a new Judge, a new trial, and perhaps even a new Commonwealth Attorney.  You can choose a trial in front of the Judge or a Jury (you do not have this option in the District Court down below).  If you pick a Jury and are found guilty  you will be responsible for the costs of the Jury.  Also when you appeal, your court costs can be higher as you have to pay the costs of District and Circuit Court if you are found guilty.

  • The cop who arrested me for drunk driving made a big deal out of the fact that I had a minor in the car with me. This was my first Virginia drunk driving arrest and the minor is a teenager. Is this really a big deal? Should I contact a Northern Virginia DUI defense lawyer?

    Yes, the charges against you may be significant and you are facing a potentially “big deal.” Not only may you be facing drunk driving charges in Virginia, but you could also be facing child endangerment charges. Thus, it is important to take this situation seriously and to contact a Fairfax drunk driving defense attorney as soon as possible.

    While we can’t offer you specific advice over the Internet, we can tell you that a drunk driving arrest is not the same thing as a drunk driving conviction. An arrest means that the police believe that they have probable cause that you committed the crime(s) for which you were arrested. In the situation you describe you may have been arrested not only for drunk driving, but also for child endangerment or other charges.

    You will have the chance to defend yourself and your defense should begin immediately. You may be able to have the case dismissed or the charges reduced if you present a good defense. For more information about possible defenses and how to protect yourself, we encourage you to contact one of our Northern Virginia DWI defense attorneys today for a free consultation about your rights. Call us toll free at 888.209.6631 for a free consultation.

  • How will I know about the specific charges against me in a federal criminal case filed in Virginia?

    The United States Attorney’s Office is the federal government office responsible for prosecuting crimes. Generally, there are two ways that they may formally notify you of the criminal charges against you. If you are charged with a felony then you may learn of the charges through an indictment. An indictment is obtained after the U.S. Attorney’s Office has presented evidence to a grand jury and after the grand jury has found that you probably committed the crime and should be charged. A grand jury cannot find you guilty and cannot impose penalties. You remain innocent until proven guilty despite the grand jury’s indictment.

    Some less serious felonies and federal misdemeanors may not go before a Virginia grand jury, thus, no indictment will be issued. Instead, the U.S. Attorney’s Office can issue an information. The information will detail the charges against you.

    Both an indictment and an information are formal legal documents. They may be difficult to understand and if you are convicted of the crimes detailed in the indictment or information then you may face serious consequences. Accordingly, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced Fairfax federal criminal defense lawyer as soon as you think that you might be in trouble. You do not have to wait for the formal indictment or information to be provided to contact a Northern Virginia criminal defense attorney. It is important to get the legal help that you need to fight the charges against you and protect your rights throughout your Virginia federal criminal case.

  • My daughter was pulled over by police while driving her car. She was not drinking alcohol, but she was arrested for a DUI because she was smoking pot. Can the police do this? Does she need a Northern Virginia DWI defense attorney?

    The answer to both of your questions is yes. Yes, a driver can be arrested for driving  under the influence laws in Virginia if she was smoking pot and there was no alcohol in her system, and yes, that driver likely needs to contact a Northern Virginia DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible.

    Virginia driving while intoxicated and under the influence laws include the prohibition of driving while under the influence of drugs that interfere with a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. Marijuana may be one such drug. A recent survey completed by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) found that one in five teenagers admit to driving while high. Thus, the scenario that you describe may be playing out in many homes across Virginia and across the country.

    If it is your child that has been arrested for driving under the influence in Virginia then the time to get help for your child is right now – before your child’s criminal case progresses any further. Our Fairfax DUI defense lawyers are committed to helping your family during this difficult time. We will make sure that you and your child understand what is likely to happen in your child’s case, that you understand your child’s rights, and that you understand the potential penalties that your child faces. Contact the lawyers of the Taylor Law Company for a free consultation by calling 703.385.5529.

  • I don’t think that the police handled my sobriety tests correctly when I was pulled over for drunk driving in Virginia. Is this something I should discuss with a Fairfax drunk driving defense lawyer? Could it be relevant to my case?

    Yes. This is something that you should discuss with your Fairfax drunk-driving defense attorney. If the sobriety test was invalid then it is possible that your Virginia drunk-driving case will be dismissed. Quite simply, if the arrest was invalid then the state likely does not have a case against you.

    The police may request that you perform different actions such as standing on one leg, walking on a straight line, counting backwards, or performing some other type of physical or cognitive exercise. Of course, there are many factors other than intoxication that can influence the results of these tests. For example, you may be tired, stressed, suffer from a medical condition, or simply have poor coordination. These may be reasons why you fail a Virginia field sobriety test, but they are not reason for you to be convicted of drunk driving in Virginia.

    It is not only field sobriety tests that may be incorrect. Even if the officer who arrested you administered a breathalyzer test, there could be problems that would result in a reading of 0.08% or greater even though you were sober.

    You should not have to suffer the penalties of a drunk-driving conviction because of an invalid test. To learn more about your rights and how to protect them, we encourage you to read the resources available on our website and to call an experienced Northern Virginia DUI defense lawyer today at 703.385.5529.

  • What will happen to my child’s education if he or she is convicted and sentenced for a juvenile crime in Virginia?

    While your school age child is in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), your child should receive general education services and special education services, if appropriate.

    Once your child is released from the DJJ, your child’s public school system must re-enroll your child within two school days of his or her release, assuming that your child has not been expelled. Virginia law requires DJJ staff and local school staff to work together to ensure your child’s smooth re-enrollment in the public school.

    A re-enrollment plan must be developed if your child has been confined by the DJJ for 30 or more days and is eligible to return to a public school. A preliminary re-enrollment plan will be developed by staff at your child’s correctional facility. The preliminary plan should include information about your child’s academic progress and suggest support services that might benefit your child, if appropriate.

    After the preliminary plan is developed, then school personnel, your child’s parole officer, you, and your child should be involved in developing the final re-enrollment plan.

    Your child’s Fairfax juvenile criminal defense lawyer can help you understand your child’s rights and fight for your child’s education. For more information, we encourage you to contact the experienced Fairfax juvenile criminal defense attorneys at Taylor Law Company at (703) 385-5529; you should also review the information about returning to school after a DDJ confinement provided by the Virginia Department of Education.

  • What are the potential penalties of an underage drunk driving conviction in Virginia?

    Virginia’s Zero Tolerance Law makes it a crime for a person who is under the age of 21 to drive with any alcohol in their system. In other words, it is illegal for someone who is under 21 to drive after even just one drink. A driver who is under 21 may be arrested, and ultimately convicted, for driving under the influence of alcohol if that driver has a blood-alcohol content (BAC) higher than 0.0%.

    The penalties for drunk driving include, but may not be limited to:

    • Jail time
    • Financial penalties including fines and court costs
    • A suspension of your driver’s license
    • Probation
    • Mandatory community service
    • Attendance at an alcohol education program
    • Criminal conviction which could have a negative impact on college admissions and job applications

    While not every driver will incur every Virginia DUI penalty, you will not know your sentence until you are sentenced. Thus, it is important to contact an experienced Northern Virginia DUI attorney as soon as you learn of your arrest. Your Virginia drunk driving defense lawyer will make sure that all of your rights are protected and will fight hard for a fair outcome.

    Do not let a bad decision in your young adult years have a long-term negative impact on your future. Instead, please contact our experienced Fairfax DUI lawyers for more information about your rights and about how we may be able to help you. We welcome your call at (703) 385-5529.

  • Can a passenger be charged with a hit and run in Virginia? Do I need a Fairfax criminal defense attorney if I was a passenger in a car and an accident wasn’t reported?

    Yes. Virginia statutes allow the police to charge a passenger with the crime of failing to report an accident in certain cases. Specifically, a passenger in a vehicle may be charged with a hit and run if:

    • The driver fails to stop and make the accident report.
    • The passenger is 16 year old or older.
    • The passenger knew about the accident.
    • Injury, death, or property damage was caused by the accident.

    The statute provides a passenger with 24 hours to report the accident to state police or local law enforcement officials as appropriate.

    The consequences of a passenger failing to report a Virginia hit and run range from a felony to a misdemeanor, depending on whether there were any injuries or fatalities as a result of the accident and the extent of the property damage. Accordingly, a passenger could face jail time, significant fines, and a criminal record if convicted of failing to report a Virginia accident.

    If you were a passenger in a car and neither the driver nor you reported an accident, it is important that you contact a Fairfax hit and run defense lawyer for help. Your lawyer will investigate what happened, advise you of your legal rights, and make sure that your rights are protected. For more information, please contact an experienced Fairfax hit and run lawyer at (703) 385-5529.

  • I didn't use a Virginia criminal defense lawyer for my speeding ticket. Why do I need one if I am arrested for reckless driving?

    A regular speeding ticket is something that most drivers can handle by themselves. However, if you have been arrested for reckless driving in Virginia then you may benefit from contacting an experienced Virginia reckless driving defense lawyer.

    Reckless driving is not simply a ticket that you can pay. Instead, a charge of  reckless driving in Virginia may be a crime. The potential penalties can be significant and include jail time and a conviction that remains on your driving record for more than a decade.

    A police officer may arrest you for reckless driving if the officer has reasonable cause to believe that:

    • Your speed was more than 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.
    • You exceed 80 miles per hour regardless of the posted speed limit.
    • You were racing.
    • You were passing an emergency vehicle or a school bus.
    • You took certain other actions that are defined as reckless driving in Virginia statutes.

    Whether you are a Virginia resident or you were simply traveling in Virginia, it is important to work with a local Fairfax reckless driving attorney if you have been charged with reckless driving. Reckless driving charges can be confusing and their impact on your future can be difficult to determine. Please get the help that you deserve by contacting an experienced Fairfax criminal defense attorney today at (703) 385-5529 for a free consultation.