Written by attorney James Donald Garrett

Will I Need Defense Lawyer For Class 1 Misdemeanor In Virginia Beach?

The U.S. Constitution affords everyone the right to an attorney for any offense that has the potential of depriving them of their freedom, i.e., jail or prison time. In every charge where this is the case in Virginia, the judge is required to inquire of the person charged whether they are going to hire a criminal defense attorney, request a public defender be appointed, or if they wish waive their right to an attorney.

In Virginia, all felony charges are punishable by possible prison or jail sentences. Class 1 and Class 2 misdemeanor offenses are punishable by up to twelve months or six months in jail, respectively. These charges all require a person to be represented by an attorney, or that person must waive their right to have a defense attorney.

Should You Have An Attorney For A Misdemeanor?

This is a question that each individual must answer for themselves, but if you decide not to have legal representation, you should know the risks. To begin with, criminal defense attorneys are not magicians and they do not have giant erasers to make bad facts disappear or go away. A criminal lawyer will, however, give you advice on how the law will consider your facts and circumstances. Many people may think they are guilty of a charge, but an attorney may be able to show them how their facts are not sufficient to establish guilt.

An attorney will also be able to evaluate the police procedures and determine if your rights were violated. If so, some evidence that may be used against you may be suppressed, i.e., kept out of court. That may be the difference in a guilty or not guilty verdict.

In some boarder line cases, having an attorney present in court may be the deciding factor to a judge. Although they will tell you you have the right to appeal, judges do not generally like to have their decisions appealed. If they think a case may be close on whether reasonable doubt exists, you can be sure the defense attorney knows this as well. Hence, a judge may rule in the defendant’s favor just because they are represented by counsel, rather than have it retried on an appeal.

Finally, a defense attorney may be able to reduce any penalties even when the defendant pleads guilty. Experienced criminal defense attorneys know what things a judge likes to hear as far as mitigating factors. An inexperienced defendant acting without an attorney may not know what to say or how to say it. This could be the difference in a jail sentence or simple probation.

In Virginia Beach, contact Garrett Law Group, PLC for an experience criminal defense lawyer. (757) 422-4646. We will answer your questions at no charge so that you can make the right choice for you.

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