Questions for Defense Attorneys
At Taylor Law Company, we understand once you are accused of a crime, you will have many questions about your rights, potential outcomes, and the process involved with your case. Not knowing where to turn for accurate answers can be overwhelming. You do not have to wonder about these questions any longer because the dedicated lawyers at Taylor Law Company want to help you every step of the way. We have answered frequently asked questions with informative, detailed responses to provide some clarity to our potential clients. Whether you are facing weapon charges in Fairfax or drug possession charges in Fairfax, VA, Taylor Law Company is here to help you and your family.
If you still have unanswered questions or would like additional information about a particular legal topic, you can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. Give us a call at (703) 385-5529 to speak with a domestic violence attorney in Fairfax, VA, today.
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I was recently charged with a DUI in Fairfax County. I passed the field sobriety test, but I did not blow into a breathalyzer to confirm that I was driving while over the legal limit of 0.08 blood alcohol content. Despite the fact that I have not been found guilty of the charge, my license was still suspended for seven days. Why was my license taken away, if people are supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty?
Unfortunately, in this situation, there is not much you can do – if anything – to get your license back for the first seven days after a Fairfax County DUI arrest. It is law in the state of Virginia that a license be suspended for seven days in order to protect the public, regardless if you really were guilty or not guilty of driving under the influence.
The Virginia DUI lawyers at the Taylor Law Company understand that this week-long inability to drive can wreak havoc on a career, especially one that is dependent on the employee transporting goods or people. That is why they urge anyone charged with a DUI to contact an attorney immediately so that the seven-day suspension does not turn in to a longer one after your court appearance. A number of defenses will and won’t work, depending on the individual situation. It is important to come up with a game plan as soon as possible to preserve your right to drive, as well as your driving record.
For information on what game plans are available for fighting your Fairfax DUI charge, contact the lawyers at Taylor Law Company by calling toll-free, 888.209.6631 or by filling out our online form.
When will my case be heard in court?
In some counties there is an arraignment date where you appear before the Judge. The Judge asks you whether you plan to hire an attorney, apply for a court appointed attorney to see if you qualify, or waive your right to an attorney. The Judge will also set your trial date or remind you of the trial date if one has already been set by the Magistrate. In other counties the first court date may be your trial date as some jurisdictions do not set a separate arraignment date. Most jurisdictions set cases fairly quickly in the General District and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts so your court date is usually about a month or so from when you are charged. Of course, sometimes there are continuances granted for either side. However, some counties limit the amount of cases they set on the docket and will set your case out farther than a month or so.
Regardless of which way your case gets set for trial, that date is where you can present evidence in your case and have your attorney question the Commonwealth Attorneys witnesses. You always need to be prepared for the trial date that is set because that is the date the Judge expects both sides to be prepared and ready to present their evidence.
How long will my trial last?
Trial for a criminal or traffic case is heard on the date your case is set. In most counties, the Judges take care of the motions and pleas first before they get to the trials. Depending on how busy the court is that day, you could be there for a couple hours or all day. Unless your case is set in the Circuit Court where trials can last days, your case will be resolved the same day both for trial and or sentencing of that applies to your case.
If I am suspected of committing a federal crime in Northern Virginia, what kind of information or evidence would the FBI consider “probable cause”?
Most sources of probable cause fall into one of four categories:
Observation. Included in this category is any information that an investigating officer obtains through his or her senses, such as sight, smell, or hearing. Also included is the officer’s recognition of a familiar pattern of criminal activity, such as a car circling the neighborhood, someone looking around furtively while examining a vehicle in a parking lot, or someone hanging around the door of a store after closing time.
Expertise. These are skills that police officers and federal investigators have acquired through training or experience, such as recognizing burglary tools, being able to read gang graffiti, and knowing the signs that a driver may be under the influence.
Information. Statements made by witnesses, informants’ tips, and information provided through police bulletins fall into this category.
Circumstantial Evidence. Anything that constitutes indirect evidence implying—but not proving—that a crime has been committed is circumstantial evidence.
Some sources of probable cause require supporting evidence from another source, but other sources are deemed reliable enough to justify probable cause by themselves.
If you are charged with a federal crime in Fairfax, law enforcement officers must show probable cause before searching or arresting you; otherwise, whatever evidence they gather is inadmissible in court.
As soon as police or the FBI have contacted you, call the federal criminal defense attorneys at the Taylor Law Company. We’ll make sure that everyone has followed the rules—or, if they haven’t, we’ll get that evidence excluded from your trial. Call us at 703-385-5529, and set up a FREE, immediate, no-obligation consultation.
My son has just been found guilty of a crime in Northern Virginia, and I’m afraid he’ll be taken away from me. Is this likely to occur?
Depending on the crime of which your son is convicted, he may be put into detention or a shelter. Northern Virginia juvenile courts can put a juvenile into custody under any of the following circumstances:
- A judge, a clerk at the judge’s direction, or an intake officer issues a detention order stating that the child must be taken into custody.
- The child is deemed a CHINS (child in need of services), the child’s life or health is in danger, and removal from the family is necessary.
- The child has committed a crime witnessed by a police officer or that would be considered a felony (a crime that is punishable by incarceration for more than 12 months) if it were committed by an adult.
- The child is guilty of a misdemeanor involving shoplifting, assault and battery, or possession of a weapon on school property.
- The child fled from legal custody or from a court-ordered residential home, facility, or placement by a child welfare agency.
- The child is deemed in need of treatment in a mental health facility.
When your child has been charged with a juvenile criminal offense in Northern Virginia, you need an attorney who will do whatever it takes to keep your child where he or she belongs: with you. The Fairfax juvenile criminal defense lawyers at Taylor Law Company will fight to get charges dropped or reduced. Give us a call at 703-385-5529, and we’ll set you up with a FREE, immediate, no-obligation consultation.
If I’ve been stopped for suspicion of DUI in Fairfax, do I have to take a Breathalyzer test?
No, you do not have to submit to any field tests that a police officer requests of you when he or she stops you on suspicion of DUI in Northern Virginia. This right is stated clearly in the United States Constitution, and it says that you shall not be required to incriminate yourself. You simply say, “I do not consent to any tests except as required by the Implied Consent law.” This means you do not have to walk a straight line, follow a pen with your eyes, or recite the alphabet. However…
If you are taken to the police station and arrested for DUI, and if the police ask to take the blood test or the breath test, you must do so or you could be charged with civil refusal. This charge carries with it an automatic one-year loss of license, with no restricted driving privileges.
Your right to drive in the commonwealth of Virginia comes with a caveat: the Virginia implied consent law. This law states that as a condition of having the right to drive in Virginia, you implicitly agree to take a chemical test of your sobriety if the police have probable cause to believe that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when you were behind the wheel.
If you have been charged with DUI or other traffic crime in Northern Virginia, immediately contact the experienced Fairfax DUI lawyers at Taylor Law Company. Call us at 703-385-5529 to set up a FREE, immediate, no-obligation consultation. We’ll make sure your rights are protected.
If I was found guilty of a misdemeanor in a Fairfax court 20 years ago, can I get the record expunged?
You cannot get records expunged if the court ruled you guilty.
An expungement is a legal action to delete police and court records associated with a criminal case. The records will not be truly destroyed, but they will be sealed and blocked from public access.
Criminal records can be expunged if any of these actions has occurred:
- Nolle prosequi (a Latin term meaning “do not pursue [prosecute]”;
- Dismissal (with the exception of delayed imposition dismissal);
- Absolute pardon; or
- An individual’s name used in error.
In addition to filling out the appropriate forms and paying related fees, a person requesting expungement must go to the police and have a new set of fingerprints taken. The police send the new fingerprint card with the Petition for Expungement to the state police, who then run a criminal history check. The person requesting expungement must verify that the court has received the fingerprint card and the criminal history. The case will be heard in court, and the petitioner must attend the hearing.
Once the judge makes a decision, the clerk of the court mails the petitioner a certified copy of the final order either granting or denying the expungement. Removal of the record from public access can take from 90 to 180 days from the date the state police receive the order to expunge. Once expunged, the record can only be opened if a court order is granted.
If you have a criminal record in Northern Virginia, and contact the Fairfax criminal defense lawyers at Taylor Law Company. Call us at 703-385-5529, and we’ll set you up with a FREE, immediate, no-obligation consultation.
How can I get a charge expunged off my record?
Virginia law only allows for you to have a charge expunged if you meet certain criteria. You must either have been found not guilty on your charge or if your charge was nolle prosequi or dismissed some other way that would qualify. You cannot get your charge expunged if you have done a first offender agreement for dismissal or if you have been found guilty of the offense. If your situation does not fall under these criteria then you are most likely not eligible for expungment. You should consult an attorney at Taylor Law Company who can review your circumstances and provide an explanation on whether you qualify for the expungement process.
What do the points on my driving record mean?
The best driving record you can have in Virginia is +5. For every year you receive no traffic violations you get +1 point. Any time you get convicted of a traffic violation Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles will assess 3, 4, or 6 points depending on the charge you were convicted of in court. The points only stay on your driving record for two years but the charge itself will remain on your driving record for 3, 5, or 11 years. You can take a driver improvement course voluntarily and receive +5 points to help balance out any points assessed for the violation. Keep in mind that the clerks office at the courthouse and the Judge do not assess the points.
I have to appear at an arraignment. Can you explain what is going to happen when I appear at the arraignment?
This is a hearing where the Judge will inform you of your right to an attorney and then set your trial date. The Judge will give you three options for obtaining an attorney 1) Hire your own attorney 2) Apply for a court appointed attorney 3) waive your right to an attorney. In some jurisdicitions the Magistrate has already set your trial date and you are only appearing at the arraignment to be advised of your right to an attorney. In other jurisdictions there is no separate arraignment and it will be done at your first court appearance. Some jurisdictions will let you waive your appearance at the arraignment if you have hired an attorney and they have entered their appearance as your attorney before the arraignment date.