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Criminal Defense

Being charged with a crime is a scary thing. Often, law enforcement makes a mistake and charges the wrong person. Maybe you just made a simple mistake. Perhaps you felt you had no choice but to take the actions you did.

Whatever the reason, now you are facing criminal charges. You are also likely feeling hopeless.

At Priale & Racine, PLLC, we know the situation might not be as bad as it seems. We know the legal defenses that can be used to have your charges reduced or dropped entirely.

We can build you a solid defense and give you the best chance at retaining your freedom if you are facing criminal charges.

Types of Criminal Cases We Handle

No matter what charges you are facing, one of our experienced criminal attorneys can provide you with a defense specific to your case.

This can help you avoid conviction and the harsh penalties often ordered by the Virginia courts.

The most common types of criminal cases we handle include:

  • Theft
  • Assault
  • Reckless driving
  • Sex crimes
  • Gun offenses
  • Drug charges
  • Drunk driving
  • Domestic violence
  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Fraud
  • Solicitation

If you have been charged with one of these crimes, or any others, we are here to help.

Call Our Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you have been charged with a crime, you should not handle your defense on your own.

At Priale & Racine, PLLC, our criminal defense lawyers in Northern Virginia are here to help. We will create a solid defense for you to give you the best chance of success. We will also ensure your rights are upheld every step of the way.

If you are facing charges, you do not have to face the criminal justice system alone.

Call us today at (703) 272-3922 or fill out our online form for your free consultation.

FAQ

Handling a Misdemeanor Crime

Minor crimes in Virginia are typically charged as misdemeanor.s For example, a first offense of drunk driving is usually charged as a misdemeanor.

The penalties for these crimes are less severe for those convicted. However, those penalties still have long-lasting consequences.

You may face up to one year in jail, high fines, and a permanent criminal record if you are convicted of a misdemeanor.

Once you have a criminal record, life becomes more difficult. You may be unable to take advantage of employment or housing opportunities. If you are a professional with a license, you may lose it. If you are a student, you may lose out on certain academic opportunities, such as scholarships.

Although misdemeanors are not considered as serious as felonies, they will still have a negative impact on your life if you are convicted.

At Priale & Racine, PLLC, we are here to keep that from happening.

We will build you a strong defense to give you the best chance of a positive outcome.

Common Defense Strategies

While facing criminal charges often seems like a hopeless situation, we know better. We understand that a charge is not a conviction. We know there are many possible defenses available to help with your case.

We will start by ensuring that your rights were upheld throughout the investigation and arrest.

If you were not read your Miranda rights, or law enforcement violated the Fourth Amendment by performing an unlawful search and seizure, we will present evidence to prove it.

When this defense is successful, often crucial evidence is deemed inadmissible. That often wreaks havoc with the prosecution’s case. If successful, your case could be thrown out of court before it has even begun.

Self-defense is also a possible strategy in Virginia. If you were attacked or being threatened, the law allows you to use reasonable force to defend yourself or another person. We will help prove that you were under imminent threat, and that the amount of force you used was reasonable.

Sometimes, law enforcement also just gets it wrong. If you have an alibi, or yours is a case of mistaken identity, we will work hard to prove these defenses, as well

When you work with our criminal defense attorneys at Priale & Racine, PLLC, these are just a few of the defenses we have ready for your case.

Pled No Contest, Can I Get The Arrest Record Expunged?

No. While a plea of Nolo Contendere or No Contest is not technically a confession of guilt, it is an expression of willingness to be considered guilty by the judge for purpose of imposition of judgment and sentence. After entering a Nolo Contendere plea, a Judge finds the Defendant guilty. Thus, this plea is not consistent with a claim of innocence that is necessary when petitioning for expungement.

Can I Get an Old Misdemeanor Record Expunged?

No. Pleading guilty to a criminal charge precludes a claim of innocence later. It doesn’t matter if it was (only) a misdemeanor or a felony or how much time has passed since your conviction. A conviction in Virginia is permanent, unless you obtain an Absolute Pardon from the Governor (which is highly unlikely).

My Charge Was Dismissed. Can I Petition For Expungement Of The Records?

Maybe. But a dismissal does not automatically qualify you for expungement of the record. Remember the standard is one of innocence. There are certain charges that are “dismissed” after complying with certain requirements. For example a person charged with Possession of Marijuana (1st offense) can complete a program and at the end of probation, if the defendant has complied with all requirements, the charge is “dismissed.” However, there is usually a stipulation of facts sufficient for a conviction by the Defendant and the judge usually indicates on the summons or warrant a finding of guilt withheld until the end of the program. These “dismissals” are not eligible for expungement.

Handling a Felony Crime

Felony crimes are taken very seriously in Virginia. These crimes are considered more heinous or violent. As such, the courts can be quite strict when handing down sentences for felony convictions.

A felony charge could result in one year in prison or it could result in life in prison if you are convicted. In the most severe cases, you could even face the death penalty in Virginia.

One of our attorneys will work hard to prevent you from facing any of these consequences. We can help you through the police investigation, before an arrest even takes place. If you are arrested, we will ensure your rights are upheld.

We will also build a solid defense for your case so the charges do not follow you around for the rest of your life.

Felonies are very serious. The Virginia criminal justice system is complex. One of our attorneys will help you navigate through it,and help you hold on to your freedom.

How Can I Contact Priale & Racine?

If you have been charged with a crime, you should not handle your defense on your own.

At Priale & Racine, PLLC, our criminal defense lawyers in Northern Virginia are here to help. We will create a solid defense for you to give you the best chance of success. We will also ensure your rights are upheld every step of the way.

If you are facing charges, you do not have to face the criminal justice system alone.

Call us today at (703) 272-3922 or fill out our online form for your free consultation.

Does An Acquittal Mean I Can Be Granted an Expungement?

Yes. If a Petitioner has no prior record and is seeking expungement of a misdemeanor charge, then the applicant shall be entitled to expungement relief unless the Commonwealth Attorney’s office presents good cause at the hearing on a petition to show the court why the remedy should not be granted. Virginia Code Section 19.2-392.2 (F).

What Do I Need To Get A Dismissed Felony Expunged?

The Court will require clear evidence that demonstrates that keeping this charge/arrest on your record “causes or may cause circumstances which constitute manifest injustice.” Virginia Code Section 19.2-392.2 (F). An example of this injustice can include a letter from prospective employer indicating that a clean criminal record is required to be offered employment.

What Are The Benefits of Expungement of a Criminal Record?

Under Virginia law, a person does not need to disclose in any applications any information about an arrest or criminal charge that has been expunged. Virginia Code Section 19.2-392.4 (A). In other words, if you are asked in any job or school application whether you have ever been arrested or charged with a crime, you can lawfully answer “No.”

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