Virginia Criminal Charges for Visitors from Out-of-State
If you have been charged with a crime in Virginia but actually live in another state, you should immediately contact a local, experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney. They can help you understand Virginia laws, procedures, and what to expect during the timeline of your case. Criminal cases can be extremely complex and therefore it is imperative to not only seek advice from a professional, but also to do so quickly to allow for the maximum amount of time to investigate the case and build a defense for your case. The earlier you contact an attorney the earlier they can start investigating your case and building your defense.
Common Misconceptions About Criminal Charges in Virginia
Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions for out-of-state individuals who are charged for crimes in Virginia is that a speeding ticket is always a speeding ticket. This is not necessarily true, as Virginia charges reckless driving by speed in Virginia Code Section 46.2 – 862. As a criminal offense in Virginia the penalties may include jail time, high fines, and loss of license, unlike a simple speeding ticket. This comes as a surprise to many out-of-state drivers.
People may be surprised at how exactly the Virginia criminal justice system works. Another procedural or sentencing surprise is that Virginia suspends a person’s Virginia driver’s license or the privilege to drive in Virginia for six months for any drug offense conviction. This includes from simple possession up to trafficking, regardless of whether or not the offense involved a motor vehicle. This is a pretty common misconception and many people question, “Why is my license suspended? I was walking down the street when the offense occurred. It had nothing to do with the car.”
Virginia does not care if a person was nowhere near a vehicle when the offense happened. The statute has license suspensions for certain charges, regardless of whether a vehicle was involved. A person charged with an offense should look very carefully at their Virginia paperwork to see if they are allowed to leave the Commonwealth of Virginia as an affirming condition of their bond. It is not uncommon for someone to be prohibited from leaving the state during the pendency of a felony case. It is important to read the paperwork and contact a Virginia criminal defense attorney to go over all the paperwork with you before you proceed to court.
Three Ways to Handle Criminal Charges
Number one, contact a criminal defense attorney right away. Number two, take the time to write down as many details about the facts and circumstances which led to the offense as possible, including specific persons, places, times, who said what, and so on. All those things are very important and you should also keep that information secure and not show it to anyone else.
Number three, rely on the information which the Virginia criminal defense attorney gives you regarding expectations, timing, and things of that nature. Cases in Virginia may go quickly or they may take a long period of time, depending on the nature of your case.