Criminal Defense Lawyer Norfolk, VA and throughout Hampton Roads
Criminal Defense Lawyer Norfolk, VA and throughout Hampton Roads

The Criminal Defense Attorneys You Need in Hampton Roads

If you’re facing charges, get our Norfolk, VA law firm on your side

Have you been charged with a crime in Virginia? Arrested and locked up in jail in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News, or another location in Hampton Roads? You need to act fast after your arrest, with an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Otherwise, you could miss important deadlines and opportunities that could result in your criminal charges being reduced or perhaps even dismissed. You might also end up waiting a long time in jail before you even go to court.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. Even compared to the rest of the United States, a significantly higher percentage of people are in prison or jail in Virginia. Within Virginia, Norfolk and Richmond send more people to prison than any other cities in the state.

You don’t want to be incarcerated. Once you’re locked up, your life can turn upside down. You could lose your job. Your health might suffer. You might be housed in a prison or jail far from your family. And if you have to serve a long sentence, many jails, and prisons in Virginia charge some of the highest fees in the country for personal phone calls, emails, and basic hygiene supplies.

Take back control with the right criminal defense attorney

Don’t wait to find out what happens. Take back control. Contact our Norfolk criminal defense law firm. We can fight for your rights. Our Norfolk criminal defense attorneys at Welch & Wright, PLLC have extensive experience handling complex criminal cases in the Hampton Roads area. Our trial lawyers routinely represent people in court charged with serious crimes. As a result, we know the state and federal laws that apply to criminal charges and understand how the legal system actually works.

The steps you take after your arrest can make a dramatic difference. This is why it’s critical that you talk to an attorney at our law firm as soon as possible. Schedule your free case evaluation right away with a courtroom-tested Virginia criminal defense lawyer focused on winning your case on your terms. We handle criminal cases in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and throughout the Hampton Roads area as well as statewide.

What are common criminal charges?

Criminal cases in Virginia can cover a wide range. Some of the most common cases our Norfolk criminal defense law firm handles include:

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What happens after I’m arrested for a crime in Virginia?

The arrest process in Virginia may involve the following?

  • Police officer advises of your legal rights (commonly known as your Miranda Rights) while they are arresting you. This includes your right to remain silent and that anything you say can later be used as evidence against you in a court of law. They should also notify you about your right to have an attorney present during questioning.
  • You will be transported to a police station.
  • At the station, the police will begin the booking process. This process mainly involves gathering personal information about you, as well as information law enforcement officials can use to identify you.
  • As part of the booking process, police will make a printed copy of your fingerprints.
  • The police booking process also involves taking a mugshot photo of you for police records.
  • If you are being held in a local jail after your arrest, police will confiscate your personal property and hold it for you in a secure location until you are released from custody.
  • Depending on the seriousness of the charge(s), you may remain in police custody until you appear before a judicial officer called a magistrate.
  • The magistrate will decide whether the police had probable cause to arrest you.
  • If the magistrate believes police had the probable cause necessary to arrest you, the magistrate will decide whether you are entitled to be released on bond. Bail is money you must pay to be released from jail after your arrest.
  • If the magistrate does not release you on bond, then you will be held until you can appear in front of a general district court judge for your arraignment. The arraignment date is your first appearance in court where the judge will formally present you with the charges against you and notify you of your right to an attorney.
  • Your attorney can then have a bond hearing set to be heard in front of the general district court judge.
  • At your bond hearing, the general district court judge will hear evidence from the Commonwealth’s Attorney (also known as the prosecutor) and from your lawyer. The judge is trying to determine whether you are a flight risk or a danger to society based off the facts and circumstances of your case.
  • The general district court judge will determine whether to grant bond, whether cash bail must be posted, and possibly other bond conditions that you must follow if you are released. These conditions depend on the charge and can include such things as refraining from consuming alcohol or refraining from contacting a certain person until trial.
  • As soon as possible after your arrest, talk to an experienced Virginia trial lawyer who handles criminal defense cases. The criminal justice system in Virginia moves fast. If you don’t take action right away, you could find yourself behind bars or miss out on your opportunity for justice.

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What should I do if I’m charged with a crime in Virginia?

Knowing what to do after an arrest in Virginia can be confusing and overwhelming. This is especially true if you have never been arrested before. Whether it’s your first time being arrested or not, the advice remains the same:

  • Don’t panic. The calmer you can be during your arrest, the better.
  • Make sure your hands are clearly visible at all times.
  • Follow the arresting police officer’s instructions.
  • Exercise your right to remain silent. Answer questions as succinctly as possible, or politely decline to answer.
  • Don’t talk to anyone other than your lawyer about your arrest or anything to do with your criminal charges.
  • Remember to remain polite with the police officers throughout the encounter – this can pay dividends for your case later.
  • As soon as possible after your arrest, contact our law firm. One of our highly skilled Virginia criminal defense lawyers can work with you to build the strongest possible legal case.

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Will I serve time in prison if I am charged with a crime?

Perhaps. Immediately after your arrest, you may be held in a local jail before your bail hearing or arraignment. Afterwards, you may also remain in jail until your trial depending on the circumstances of your criminal case.

Beyond simply being charged with a crime, you may be required to serve time in jail if you are convicted and found guilty. Many criminal charges have mandatory minimum sentences in jail or prison. However, you may be able to avoid spending longer in jail if you receive a suspended sentence.

There are two types of jail time in Virginia – active jail time and suspended jail time. Active jail time must be served in jail. Suspended jail time does not have to be served as long as you follow the court’s orders. However, if you do not follow the court’s orders, all or a portion of your suspended jail time can be revoked, and you will have to serve that amount of time as an active jail sentence.

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Can I get my criminal charges dismissed?

Perhaps. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Virginia, you may be able to get your charges dismissed. However, the legal process can be very complicated. In many cases, the best way to get your charges dismissed is to challenge the legality of your arrest. If the police did not have probable cause to arrest you, your criminal defense lawyer may be able to get your charges dismissed.

But every legal case is different and there’s no guarantee about what might happen. That’s why it’s critical that you talk to an attorney right away to learn more about your legal options.

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Can I appeal my criminal conviction in Virginia?

Yes, but appealing a criminal conviction in Virginia can be a very complex legal process. First, it depends upon which court you are appealing your conviction from. If you are appealing your case from the general district court to the circuit court, you have an almost absolute right to appeal it for any reason as long as the notice of appeal has been made in the general district court within 10 calendar days.

If you are appealing your conviction from the circuit court to the Virginia Court of Appeals, the process is a lot more complicated. You can’t simply appeal your guilty verdict because you didn’t agree with it. You have to provide evidence that your rights were violated or that your legal case was mishandled by the court in a manner that affected the outcome.

Common reasons why people appeal criminal cases in Virginia include:

  • Jury given improper instructions.
  • Evidence improperly admitted or excluded from trial.
  • Jury misconduct during trial.
  • Factual error made by court.
  • Lack of evidence to support your conviction.

You also need to act fast, as you only have 30 days to file an appeal after a conviction in circuit court.

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How can a Virginia criminal defense lawyer help?

Experienced Virginia criminal defense attorneys know how the legal system works. This is extremely important if you have been charged with a crime. To protect your rights, you need to act fast after you have been arrested. A skilled attorney familiar with the legal system and the laws governing criminal cases can thoroughly investigate your case.

Many times, mistakes are made by police or prosecutors during an arrest or court proceeding in Virginia. Your lawyer can review the details of your case and search for evidence of any wrongdoing or failure to follow standard police procedures during your arrest.

Depending on the circumstances, your lawyer may be able to get your charges dropped or fight for a Not Guilty verdict at trial. Or we may be able to get the charges or sentence reduced. An experienced attorney can help you understand your options and fight for your rights and interests.

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Why should I hire Welch & Wright, PLLC?

The Virginia law firm you choose to handle your criminal defense case can make a big difference in what happens to you after your arrest. This is why many people charged with a crime in Norfolk, Newport News, or another city in Hampton Roads choose Welch & Wright, PLLC to handle their legal case.

Our Norfolk, VA criminal defense attorneys thoroughly understand how the legal system works in Virginia. As trial lawyers, we regularly represent people charged with crimes in General District Court (which handles misdemeanor criminal charges) and Circuit Court (which handles felony criminal charges and misdemeanor appeals). Our courtroom-tested attorneys are also familiar with specific courts in the Hampton Roads area, including the 4th Judicial Circuit of Virginia (which includes Norfolk) and the 2nd Judicial Circuit of Virginia (which includes Virginia Beach).

Such knowledge is critical since you need to act fast after you have been charged with a crime in Virginia. When you have our legal team on your side, you can be confident that we will explore every possible solution to your case, including having your criminal charges dismissed, reduced or other solutions designed to keep you out of jail. Your best interests always come first at Welch & Wright, PLLC in Norfolk. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.

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