The Collins Law Firm, P.C.
Free Initial Consultations
local 757-818-9539 toll free 800-483-1156

Portsmouth Criminal Defense Law Blog

Legal help is vital when facing drug charges in Virginia

Drugs are taken very seriously in Virginia and can cause immense problems in a person's life if they are arrested and convicted on drug offenses. Those who are arrested on drug charges in Virginia should remember the potential consequences they are facing and take steps to deal with them. These consequences can include fines, incarceration and long-term problems. There are various levels to drug offenses and these come with various penalties. Taking this seriously is a must.

For example, even though marijuana is increasingly being treated as a lower-level offense, it remains illegal in Virginia. It might not have the same penalties for other drugs, but it is still treated as a crime. For those arrested and charged with possession or the sale of harder drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine and other serious drugs, the penalties will be of greater severity. In any case, legal help is a must.

Understanding the legalities of Virginia's hate crime law

In today's difficult, polarized social climate, people throughout the nation are becoming more aware of the concept and prevalence of hate crimes, as well as how they can lead to various punishments. Even teens can find themselves dealing with allegations related to hate crimes. Even though people under 18 are frequently shielded from the harshest penalties, long-term consequences are a potentiality reality for those who are convicted of hate crimes.

A hate crime is an illegal act carried out due to biases on the part of the offender. Often, it is hard to determine motivation for a crime unless the accused individual openly stated it or took part in behaviors that made it clear that they were acting against another because of that person's religion, race, skin color, or national origin. In Virginia, a person who commits a criminal act against another person or the person's property with the intent to intimidate them because of their race, religion, or ethnicity, or commits the act in hopes of stopping the person from exercising Constitutional rights, will be considered to have committed a hate crime. An illegal act against an individual, group, or property because of one's religion, race, or national origin will also be considered a hate crime.

Virginia teen arrested for theft in spree of robberies with adult

In Virginia, there is a difference between crimes that are charged to adults and those that are classified as juvenile crimes. If a person is under the age of 18 and gets caught up in or accused of criminal activity, it is important to know the difference. This is true regardless of the criminal activities that are alleged. For those who are under the age of being considered an adult and are charged with a juvenile crime or a crime that reaches the seriousness in which he or she might be charged as an adult, it is essential to have a legal defense that is experienced and qualified to help, as may be the situation in one case.

There, two males were arrested for several robberies that occurred in September. One of the accused individuals is a man, age 32, while the other was a juvenile, age 14. One alleged crime was at a convenience store. The males are alleged to have committed a robbery in the parking lot. Shots were apparently fired at the victim as he tried to get away. No one was hurt, but two vehicles were hit. Another robbery occurred at a sandwich chain shop. In that incident, one of the suspects entered the establishment, brandished a gun and demanded money from the worker, who was alone in the store at the time. The alleged robber fled with an unspecified amount of amount. The third incident in question occurred at the same convenience store as the first. In that incident, one suspect is accused of pulling a gun and demanding money. After allegedly being given an unknown amount of money, he fled.

Drug possession and its penalties in Virginia

Virginians who are arrested for drug crimes can face a variety of penalties depending on the crime with which they are charged. With drug possession, the level of charges and their corresponding penalties will depend on the drug involved and if the accused individual had a prescription or not. Penalties for a conviction will depend on the violation.

The severity of a drug crime is often dependent upon the schedule of drug that is at the heart of a case. A Schedule I drug like LSD or heroin has a high potential to be abused and does not have a known medical benefit. Schedule II has a high potential for abuse and can lead to severe dependency, but does have a current medical use. Included in this category are cocaine, methamphetamine, PCP, and methadone. For possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance, there can be incarceration for up to 10 years and/or a fine of $2,500.

What are the penalties for a second DUI conviction in Virginia?

For Virginians who are arrested, charged, and convicted of drunk driving, the penalties and stigma that surrounds it can be difficult to deal with. There are times when a person who has one conviction will be in a situation in which he or she is charged with the same offense again. There are different penalties for a second conviction on drunk driving charges. Knowing what these penalties are is integral to formulating a strong defense.

The severity of penalties is contingent upon the amount of time that has elapsed from the first conviction to the second. If a person is convicted of the second offense and it is less than five years after the first offense, there will be a minimum fine of $500. The person will have a minimum jail sentence of one month and up to one year. The mandatory minimum incarceration will be 20 days.

What are the penalties for underage drinking and driving?

As a new school year begins in Virginia, teens will be reunited with friends and perhaps be together at social events or other locations where alcohol might be available. This might lead to the temptation to drink while under the legal age to do so. In some instances, an accident or a traffic stop may occur leading to allegations of underage drinking and driving. Those who find themselves in position need to understand the law so that they can craft a criminal defense that best protects them.

People under 21 are not allowed to drive after having consumed alcohol regardless of the level of alcohol present in their bloodstream. This is because a person under 21 is not supposed to be drinking in the first place. If there is a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.02 percent or more in the system, it will be a violation. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Class 1 misdemeanors carry with them the potential penalties of jail for up to one year, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

Juvenile crimes, theft and other forms of larceny

Virginia teens who are accused of shoplifting need to be aware that it is taken seriously and there can be significant long-term consequences if there is a conviction. Understanding the law and formulating a defense is therefore essential to stand a chance at avoiding the harshest punishments in the juvenile law system.

Under Virginia law, a person who conceals, takes, alters the price of goods, or helps another do so can be charged with shoplifting. Shoplifting, a type of larceny, has different penalties depending on the value of that which is alleged to have been taken. Merchandise that is worth less than $200 will lead to a charge of petit larceny. Merchandise that is worth $200 or more will be considered grand larceny. If a person conceals an item while on the premises, it will be viewed as evidence that the person intended to take it. Taking the property of an individual with the intent of never returning it to the owner is larceny. Petit larceny is when an item that is worth less than five dollars if it is taken from a person. If it is taken not from the person, it will be petit larceny if it is worth $200 or less. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Police arrest man on domestic assault and other charges

While most cases of domestic assault are perceived to involve a person and a spouse or a person with whom he or she is in a relationship, there are many other ways in which there can be these types of charges made. Simply getting into a physical dispute with a family member can result in domestic assault charges. In many cases, there are other charges accompanying the domestic abuse allegations. Having comprehensive legal assistance with acriminal defense is therefore often imperative in these cases, lest an accused individual wants to face serious penalties.

A 20-year-old man may be learning this now after he was arrested on multiple charges after an alleged domestic incident. Law enforcement was called at close to 10 p.m. on the night in question regarding a domestic issue. As they were responding to the call, they were allegedly informed that the son of the person who called was outside the residence with a firearm. When the police arrived, the man was outside as they had been told. Officers demanded the man to get on the ground, and he obeyed. At that time, the authorities discovered that the gun was a replica and was made to fire pellets. The man was taken for a medical assessment. He was subsequently arrested for assaulting a family member, alcohol-related offenses, destroying property, and burglary.

Can a juvenile be arrested in Virginia for making threats?

As another school year is set to begin, it is important for people under the age of 18 to have a grasp of the juvenile law system and how certain allegations can impact their lives. For example, a juvenile might not be aware that making a verbal or physical threat can result in criminal charges. Even if such a threat is made in jest or is done without the person really meaning it, there can be charges and, if convicted, harsh penalties that accompany it. This is true for physical and verbal threats.

The law states that a threat occurs when there is communication saying that one person will injure or kill another person or a member of that person's family. Prosecutors must also show that this communication is sufficient to stoke reasonable fear in the other person that the threat might actually be carried out. A written threat will result in charges of a Class 6 felony. If there is a conviction, the juvenile can be imprisoned for a minimum of one year and up to five years. Alternatively, he or she may be jailed for up to one year with a fine of up to $2,500. A threat made on school grounds, at an event sponsored by the school, or on a school bus will be classified as a Class 6 felony even if the person who was targeted never receives the threat.

What are the penalties for PWID marijuana in Virginia?

Although marijuana is being treated more leniently throughout the U.S., with some states outright legalizing it, it is still against the law in Virginia. A person who is caught with marijuana can face drug possession charges. With these drug offenses, possession with intent to distribute is taken more seriously than simply possessing it. Those who are arrested on these charges should be aware of the penalties they will face in the event of a conviction. Possession with intent to distribute is also referred to under the acronym PWID.

A person is not allowed to sell, distribute, give, or possess the drug with the intent to sell, distribute, or give. If there are charges related to this offense, the person will face certain charges based on the amount. Having up to one-half ounce will be a Class 1 misdemeanor. Having more than one-half ounce but five pounds or less will be a Class 5 felony. Having more than five pounds of marijuana will be a felony with a minimum prison sentence of five years and a maximum incarceration of 30 years.