If you are facing a felony, you should enlist an experienced Fairfax criminal lawyer with the ability to protect your rights and ensure that you see the best possible outcome. As a former prosecutor in Northern Virginia, Faraji Rosenthall has extensive experience with handling even the most difficult felony cases.
Felonies, as opposed to misdemeanor, are the most serious grade of crime under Virginia law. Virginia places felonies in seven different classes according to level of potential punishment:
Class 1 – punishable by sentence of death, life imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000
Class 2 – punishable by sentence between 20 years and life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000
Class 3 – punishable by sentence of between five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000
Class 4 – punishable by sentence of between two and 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000
Class 5 – punishable by sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500
Class 6 – punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500
Unclassified – punishable by a specifically stated prison sentence which varies depending on the crime
In Virginia, a felony conviction remains on your record for life, with the expungement process not available as an option. Even worse, a felony conviction alters your rights as an American citizen. In Virginia, convicted felons are not allowed to vote or own a gun for the rest of their lives. Even getting caught in possession of a gun is a serious crime for a convicted felon. Additionally, felony convictions will most likely be brought up when if you are looking to apply for a job or credit line, or even if you need to rent a place to live.
In Fairfax, the felony process can be complicated, and time-consuming. When you hire a lawyer to handle your case, it is important that he or she is experienced, with the ability to tell you exactly what you should expect when your day in court arrives.
As a former prosecutor in Northern Virginia, Mr. Rosenthall has not only handled over 1,000 felony cases, but has worked on “the other side of the aisle,” making note of everything that does and does not work during Virginia felony cases. If you are looking for a fair, hard-working attorney to help resolve your felony case, call Mr. Rosenthall for a free consultation.
The Virginia Felony Process (Preliminary Hearing)
In Virginia, felony cases start with a preliminary hearing. Held in the general district court, this hearing will determine if probable cause (meaning if a crime likely took place and the defendant likely committed it) exists for the case to proceed to circuit court. The standard for probable cause is much lower than that for reasonable doubt in finding someone guilty. In some situations, a witness testimony or a confession from the accused may be enough for the prosecutor to win the preliminary hearing.
For an experienced felony attorney in Virginia, the preliminary hearing presents a different opportunity. Under Virginia rules, the defense is presented very little information concerning the government’s potential witnesses and evidence prior to the trial, with no legal opportunity to question these witnesses before they testify.
The preliminary hearing presents the opportunity to hear what witnesses might say, and also gives the attorney the chance to begin preparing an effective defense. Since the preliminary hearing is a one-time opportunity, it is important that you have an experienced attorney handle it on your behalf. When the hearing comes to an end, so does your opportunity to see the opposing witnesses testify in advance. The preliminary hearing establishes the tone for the felony case, not only for how it will go, but what the perfect strategy will be. Call our office to speak with an experienced Virginia felony lawyer concerning your upcoming felony case.