Tag Archives: Henrico Lawyer

Virginia Criminal Case FAQ

Virginia Criminal Case Frequently Asked Questions

Our clients present us with many questions related to Virginia criminal cases. Some of these include:

What is the structure and progression of Virginia criminal case?

What is the bond or bail hearing and how do I know if I will get bond?

Should I plea bargain or go trial?

How do I choose a Virginia criminal defense lawyer?

Should I be tried by a judge (bench trial) or by a jury?

Does my prior criminal record matter for purposes of my current Virginia criminal charges?

Should I testify in my Virginia criminal trial?

If I am convicted of a crime in Virginia, what steps do I take to appeal. Can things get worse if I appeal my conviction?

What is a habeas corpus proceeding in Virginia?

How do I choose a Virginia federal crime defense attorney?

What is the structure and progression of Virginia criminal case? [Back to top ]

A Virginia criminal case usually starts when a citizen or a police officer swears out a criminal complaint and affidavit. Frequently the criminal complaint is presented to a magistrate who determines probable cause. For many Virginia misdemeanor criminal complaints, the magistrate, upon finding probable cause, will issue an arrest warrant against the defendant. For other misdemeanor complaints and frequently for felony complaints, the complaint will be forwarded to a police detective for further investigation.

Sometimes the Virginia police detective will contact the suspect and ask him to come to the station to discuss the matter. Sometimes the Virginia police detective will show up at the suspect’s residence to “talk.” If you re contacted by a police detective regarding a pending investigation it is extremely important that you contact a competent Virginia criminal defense attorney before discussing anything with the police, even if the police indicates to you that “no charges are pending” that “I don’t have a warrant” or that “it is better for you to cooperate now or it might get worse.”

Once a detached magistrate finds probable cause that the suspect committed the offense, an arrest warrant will issue. Bear in mind that a finding of probable cause requires only minimal evidence. It is a far cry from guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard required to convict. If a warrant is issued against you, sometimes the police will contact you to voluntarily surrender yourself. Sometimes the police will show up at your home, work, or any other place you frequent for the purpose of arresting you. In either case, it is important that you contact a competent Virginia criminal defense lawyer for legal advice and to protect your rights. It is extremely important that you are prepared to interact with a highly trained police officer who is on a mission to obtain a “statement” from you. This statement will invariably be used as a confession, whether or not you believe that you actually confessed. A mistake here can land you in a Virginia jail or even worse, in a Virginia prison.

After being arrested, booked, and processed, you will be taken to a magistrate for a bail hearing. At this hearing, you will be asked several questions to determine whether you are a flight risk or a danger to the community. For more details about your bond hearing, please refer to our Virginia criminal law frequently asked question regarding bail determinations and bond hearings. If you don’t agree with the magistrate’s bail decision, you may have bail heard by the General District Court or the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court depending on the type of case. The decision of the Virginia General District or Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court can then be appealed to the Circuit Court, then to the Virginia Court of Appeals, and finally, to the Virginia Supreme Court.

What is the bond or bail hearing and how do I know if I will get bond?

Should I plea bargain or go trial? [Back to top ]

During most criminal cases, there will be a time when your Virginia criminal defense lawyer will negotiate with the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney. The plea bargain process will result in either an agreed disposition of your Virginia criminal case or a decision to go to trial. We can provide you with legal advice to assist you in making the decision of whether to plea bargain or go to trial.

How do I choose a Virginia criminal defense lawyer? [Back to top ]

Should I be tried by a judge (bench trial) or by a jury? [Back to top ]

There are many advantages to a trial by a jury of your Virginia peers. To convict you, the prosecution must be able to convince the jury panel, your faith will not just be in the hands of a Virginia judge. However, a jury can’t suspend any time of the sentence. Our Virginia criminal defense attorneys ma assist you in making the decision of whether to choose to be tried by a Virginia judge or Virginia jury.

Does my prior criminal record matter for purposes of my current Virginia criminal charges? [Back to top ]

Should I testify in my Virginia criminal trial? [Back to top ]

If I am convicted of a crime in Virginia, what steps do I take to appeal. Can things get worse if I appeal my conviction? [Back to top ]

What is a habeas corpus proceeding in Virginia? [Back to top ]

How do I choose a Virginia federal crime defense attorney? [Back to top ]

Contact a Virginia felony defense lawyer

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions).

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Virginia Malicious Wounding

Virginia Malicious Wounding Defense Lawyer

Under Virginia law, an accusation of attempting to maim, disfigure, disable or kill another person is a serious criminal charge. Similarly, shooting, stabbing, cutting or wounding a person causing bodily injury is generally prosecuted as a serious Virginia felony. Our attorneys can provide you with a Virginia criminal defense to protect your rights and freedom against malicious wounding charges in Virginia.

* Injury to law enforcement, police, firefighter, or emergency medical service provider
* Aggravated malicious wounding
* Throwing objects from places higher than one story
* Malicious bodily injury through use of substance
* Shooting in attempting a felony
* Conviction of lesser included offense

Injury to law enforcement, police, firefighter, or emergency medical service provider

§ 18.2-51.1. Malicious bodily injury to law-enforcement officers, firefighters, search and rescue personnel, or emergency medical service providers; penalty; lesser-included offense.

If any person maliciously causes bodily injury to another by any means including the means set out in § 18.2-52, with intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill, and knowing or having reason to know that such other person is a law-enforcement officer, as defined hereinafter, firefighter, as defined in § 65.2-102, search and rescue personnel as defined hereinafter, or emergency medical services personnel, as defined in § 32.1-111.1 engaged in the performance of his public duties as a law-enforcement officer, firefighter, search and rescue personnel, or emergency medical services personnel, such person shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for a period of not less than five years nor more than 30 years and, subject to subsection (g) of § 18.2-10, a fine of not more than $100,000. Upon conviction, the sentence of such person shall include a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of two years.

If any person unlawfully, but not maliciously, with the intent aforesaid, causes bodily injury to another by any means, knowing or having reason to know such other person is a law-enforcement officer, firefighter, as defined in § 65.2-102, search and rescue personnel, or emergency medical services personnel, engaged in the performance of his public duties as a law-enforcement officer, firefighter, search and rescue personnel, or emergency medical services personnel, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony, and upon conviction, the sentence of such person shall include a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one year.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the right of any person charged with a violation of this section from asserting and presenting evidence in support of any defenses to the charge that may be available under common law.

As used in this section, “law-enforcement officer” means any full-time or part-time employee of a police department or sheriff’s office that is part of or administered by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof, who is responsible for the prevention or detection of crime and the enforcement of the penal, traffic or highway laws of this Commonwealth; any conservation officer of the Department of Conservation and Recreation commissioned pursuant to § 10.1-115; any conservation police officer appointed pursuant to § 29.1-200 and auxiliary police officers appointed or provided for pursuant to §§ 15.2-1731 and 15.2-1733 and auxiliary deputy sheriffs appointed pursuant to § 15.2-1603.

As used in this section, “search and rescue personnel” means any employee or member of a search and rescue organization that is authorized by a resolution or ordinance duly adopted by the governing body of any county, city or town of the Commonwealth.

The provisions of § 18.2-51 shall be deemed to provide a lesser-included offense hereof.

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Aggravated malicious wounding

§ 18.2-51.2. Aggravated malicious wounding; penalty.

A. If any person maliciously shoots, stabs, cuts or wounds any other person, or by any means causes bodily injury, with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill, he shall be guilty of a Class 2 felony if the victim is thereby severely injured and is caused to suffer permanent and significant physical impairment.

B. If any person maliciously shoots, stabs, cuts or wounds any other woman who is pregnant, or by any other means causes bodily injury, with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill the pregnant woman or to cause the involuntary termination of her pregnancy, he shall be guilty of a Class 2 felony if the victim is thereby severely injured and is caused to suffer permanent and significant physical impairment.

C. For purposes of this section, the involuntary termination of a woman’s pregnancy shall be deemed a severe injury and a permanent and significant physical impairment.

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Throwing objects from places higher than one story

§ 18.2-51.3. Prohibition against reckless endangerment of others by throwing objects from places higher than one story; penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person, with the intent to cause injury to another, to intentionally throw from a balcony, roof top, or other place more than one story above ground level any object capable of causing any such injury.

B. A violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 6 felony.

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Malicious bodily injury through use of substance

§ 18.2-52. Malicious bodily injury by means of any caustic substance or agent or use of any explosive or fire.

If any person maliciously causes any other person bodily injury by means of any acid, lye or other caustic substance or agent or use of any explosive or fire, he shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by confinement in a state correctional facility for a period of not less than five years nor more than thirty years. If such act is done unlawfully but not maliciously, the offender shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

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Shooting in attempting a felony

§ 18.2-53. Shooting, etc., in committing or attempting a felony.

If any person, in the commission of, or attempt to commit, felony, unlawfully shoot, stab, cut or wound another person he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

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Conviction of lesser included offense

§ 18.2-54. Conviction of lesser offenses under certain indictments.

On any indictment for maliciously shooting, stabbing, cutting or wounding a person or by any means causing him bodily injury, with intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill him, or of causing bodily injury by means of any acid, lye or other caustic substance or agent, the jury or the court trying the case without a jury may find the accused not guilty of the offense charged but guilty of unlawfully doing such act with the intent aforesaid, or of assault and battery if the evidence warrants.

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Contact a Virginia malicious wounding defense lawyer

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions). Continue reading

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Virginia Assault And Battery

Virginia Assault and Battery

Under Virginia law, the common law offenses of assault and battery have been merged. In Virginia, assault and battery are codified under the Code of Virginia.

In Virginia, an assault and battery is an act intended to cause an apprehension of harm or offensive contact. The uttering of words in the absence of an act are not an assault. The words must be accompanied by some act indicating that the accused may actually carry out the threat. Assault also requires that the accused also have the intent to commit the assault. For an assault to occur, the alleged victim must have a reasonable apprehension of imminent injury or imminent unlawful contact.

Assault and battery is a general intent offense. Therefore, the accused does not need to intend the specific harm that will result from the unwanted contact, but only the intent to commit an act of unwanted contact. Gross negligence and recklessness may provide the required intent. If the assault and battery are perpetrated by a mob, each participant can be found guilty of the offense of assault and battery in Virginia.

In Virginia, the traditional defenses for a charge of assault and battery are available. Lack of the intent to commit a Virginia assault and battery and self-defense are the most common defenses to a charge of assault and battery in Virginia.

Under Virginia law, an aggravated offense of assault and battery may be charged as malicious wounding.

Under the Code of Virginia, some assault and battery charges may include:

* Assault and battery
* Assault and battery against a household or family member
* Additional considerations for military personnel convicted of assault and battery in Virginia
* Discretionary civil remedy to assault and battery charges in Virginia – Accord and satisfaction

Assault and battery

§ 18.2-57. Assault and battery.

A. Any person who commits a simple assault or assault and battery shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and if the person intentionally selects the person against whom a simple assault is committed because of his race, religious conviction, color or national origin, the penalty upon conviction shall include a term of confinement of at least six months, 30 days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement.

B. However, if a person intentionally selects the person against whom an assault and battery resulting in bodily injury is committed because of his race, religious conviction, color or national origin, the person shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony, and the penalty upon conviction shall include a term of confinement of at least six months, 30 days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement.

C. In addition, if any person commits an assault or an assault and battery against another knowing or having reason to know that such other person is a judge, a law-enforcement officer as defined hereinafter, a correctional officer as defined in § 53.1-1, a person employed by the Department of Corrections directly involved in the care, treatment or supervision of inmates in the custody of the Department, a firefighter as defined in § 65.2-102, or a volunteer firefighter or lifesaving or rescue squad member who is a member of a bona fide volunteer fire department or volunteer rescue or emergency medical squad regardless of whether a resolution has been adopted by the governing body of a political subdivision recognizing such firefighters or members as employees, engaged in the performance of his public duties, such person is guilty of a Class 6 felony, and, upon conviction, the sentence of such person shall include a mandatory minimum term of confinement of six months.

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to affect the right of any person charged with a violation of this section from asserting and presenting evidence in support of any defenses to the charge that may be available under common law.

D. In addition, if any person commits a battery against another knowing or having reason to know that such other person is a full-time or part-time teacher, principal, assistant principal, or guidance counselor of any public or private elementary or secondary school and is engaged in the performance of his duties as such, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and the sentence of such person upon conviction shall include a sentence of 15 days in jail, two days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement. However, if the offense is committed by use of a firearm or other weapon prohibited on school property pursuant to § 18.2-308.1, the person shall serve a mandatory minimum sentence of confinement of six months.

E. As used in this section:

“Judge” means any justice or judge of a court of record of the Commonwealth including a judge designated under § 17.1-105, a judge under temporary recall under § 17.1-106, or a judge pro tempore under § 17.1-109, any member of the State Corporation Commission, or of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, and any judge of a district court of the Commonwealth or any substitute judge of such district court.

“Law-enforcement officer” means any full-time or part-time employee of a police department or sheriff’s office which is part of or administered by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof, who is responsible for the prevention or detection of crime and the enforcement of the penal, traffic or highway laws of this Commonwealth, and any conservation officer of the Department of Conservation and Recreation commissioned pursuant to § 10.1-115, and conservation police officers appointed pursuant to § 29.1-200, and such officer also includes jail officers in local and regional correctional facilities, all deputy sheriffs, whether assigned to law-enforcement duties, court services or local jail responsibilities, auxiliary police officers appointed or provided for pursuant to §§ 15.2-1731 and 15.2-1733 and auxiliary deputy sheriffs appointed pursuant to § 15.2-1603.

“School security officer” means an individual who is employed by the local school board for the purpose of maintaining order and discipline, preventing crime, investigating violations of school board policies and detaining persons violating the law or school board policies on school property, a school bus or at a school-sponsored activity and who is responsible solely for ensuring the safety, security and welfare of all students, faculty and staff in the assigned school.

F. “Simple assault” or “assault and battery” shall not be construed to include the use of, by any teacher, teacher aide, principal, assistant principal, guidance counselor, school security officer, school bus driver or school bus aide, while acting in the course and scope of his official capacity, any of the following: (i) incidental, minor or reasonable physical contact or other actions designed to maintain order and control; (ii) reasonable and necessary force to quell a disturbance or remove a student from the scene of a disturbance that threatens physical injury to persons or damage to property; (iii) reasonable and necessary force to prevent a student from inflicting physical harm on himself; (iv) reasonable and necessary force for self-defense or the defense of others; or (v) reasonable and necessary force to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects or controlled substances or associated paraphernalia that are upon the person of the student or within his control.

In determining whether a person was acting within the exceptions provided in this subsection, due deference shall be given to reasonable judgments that were made by a teacher, teacher aide, principal, assistant principal, guidance counselor, school security officer, school bus driver, or school bus aide at the time of the event.

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Assault and battery against a household or family member

§ 18.2-57.2. Assault and battery against a family or household member; penalty.

A. Any person who commits an assault and battery against a family or household member is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

B. Upon a conviction for assault and battery against a family or household member, where it is alleged in the warrant, information, or indictment on which a person is convicted, that such person has been previously convicted of two offenses against a family or household member of (i) assault and battery against a family or household member in violation of this section, (ii) malicious wounding in violation of § 18.2-51, (iii) aggravated malicious wounding in violation of § 18.2-51.2, (iv) malicious bodily injury by means of a substance in violation of § 18.2-52, or (v) an offense under the law of any other jurisdiction which has the same elements of any of the above offenses, in any combination, all of which occurred within a period of 20 years, and each of which occurred on a different date, such person is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

C. Whenever a warrant for a violation of this section is issued, the magistrate shall issue an emergency protective order as authorized by § 16.1-253.4, except if the defendant is a minor, an emergency protective order shall not be required.

D. The definition of “family or household member” in § 16.1-228 applies to this section.

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Additional considerations for military personnel convicted of assault and battery in Virginia

§ 18.2-57.4. Reporting findings of assault and battery to military family advocacy representatives.

If any active duty member of the United States Armed Forces is found guilty of a violation of § 18.2-57.2 or § 18.2-57.3, the court shall report the conviction to family advocacy representatives of the United States Armed Forces.

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Discretionary civil remedy to assault and battery charges in Virginia – Accord and satisfaction

§ 19.2-151. Satisfaction and discharge of assault and similar charges.

When a person is in jail or under a recognizance to answer a charge of assault and battery or other misdemeanor, or has been indicted for an assault and battery or other misdemeanor for which there is a remedy by civil action, unless the offense was committed (i) by or upon any law-enforcement officer, (ii) riotously in violation of §§ 18.2-404 to 18.2-407, (iii) against a family or household member in violation of § 18.2-57.2, or (iv) with intent to commit a felony, if the person injured appears before the court which made the commitment or took the recognizance, or before the court in which the indictment is pending, and acknowledges in writing that he has received satisfaction for the injury, the court may, in its discretion, by an order, supersede the commitment, discharge the recognizance, or dismiss the prosecution, upon payment by the defendant of costs accrued to the Commonwealth or any of its officers.

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Contact a Virginia assault and battery defense lawyer

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions). Continue reading

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Attorney D. Rivera

Virginia Lawyers

Attorney Domingo J. Rivera, MBA, Litigation Specialist (Managing Partner)

Mr. Domingo Rivera is an attorney admitted to practice in Virginia . His unique qualifications and excellent litigation skills and experience combined with his language skills places him in a unique position to be a valuable asset to every client he represents.

Mr. Rivera serves as lead counsel arguing cases in court, filing pleadings, and negotiating settlements. He has presented cases at virtually all levels of the Virginia Courts system from the General District Courts to the Court of Appeals and in the federal courts.

Prior to attending law school, Mr. Rivera completed a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and an M.B.A. He is also fluent in speaking and reading Spanish.

As a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy, he was entrusted with the responsibility for several complex high-tech projects. One of these projects was the construction of the Homeland Security Headquarters in Virginia , a multi-million dollar state-of-the art facility and one of the most important projects in the Department of Defense. In addition, Mr. Rivera also served as the Assistant Resident Engineer in Charge of Contracts at the Norfolk Naval Station. These positions of trust required Mr. Rivera to maintain a Top Secret Clearance.

Mr. Rivera has been featured as a legal commentator nationally and internationally, including interviews with the BBC with audience of over 130 million people. Mr. Rivera’s cases have been reported in many publications, including the Washington Post and the Mount Vernon News.

When you demand excellence in legal counseling as well aggressive and effective courtroom skills, Mr. Rivera can be your attorney of choice. He can provide you with legal advice, from deciding whether to pursue litigation to the jury trial.

Contact attorney Domingo J. Rivera

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions). Continue reading

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Federal Court Lawyer

Virginia Federal Court Criminal Defense and Virginia Federal Civil Cases

Representing clients in the Virginia federal courts against all federal criminal accusations and in civil matters in the Virginia federal courts. Domingo Rivera has valuable experience handling high-profile federal court cases in Virginia. Mr. Rivera’s cases and commentaries have been reported in the local, National, and even international press.

Litigation in the Virginia Federal Courts, whether related to federal crimes defense or civil cases. requires specialized knowledge and experience. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the Local Rules of the Federal Court of the Eastern District of Virginia are different from the rules applied in the Virginia State courts.

The experience of a Virginia federal court attorney can ensure that your Virginia federal case is properly handled. To illustrate why this is of particular importance, take for example the Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. This court is commonly referred to as the “rocket docket.” A Virginia federal court attorney must be prepared to handle the intensity and demands of the Virginia federal courts.

Our firm is your Virginia Federal crime defense lawyer representing clients accused of the following crimes:

Federal Traffic Cases including reckless driving and drunk driving (DUI).

Federal Drug Crimes including possession, trafficking, distribution, possession for sale, prescription fraud and others.

Federal White Collar Crimes including Bank Fraud, Bankruptcy Fraud, Bribery, Credit Card Fraud, Embezzlement, Securities Fraud, Tax Fraud, Theft Crimes, Auto Theft, Bad Checks, Dealing / Stolen Property, Possession / Stolen Property, Forgery, Grand Larceny / Theft, Petty Larceny / Theft, Shoplifting, Theft by Conversion, and Theft of Services

Federal Computer or Internet Crimes including Criminal Copyright Infringement, Computer Hacking, Computer Fraud, Identity Theft, Internet Stalking, Possession / Distribution / Receipt of child pornography.

When you need a Virginia federal crime defense lawyer, a federal court attorney, a Virginia federal lawyer, or an attorney specializing in Federal court practice, we can assist you with all Virginia federal law matters.

Contact a Virginia Federal crime defense lawyer

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions).

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Virginia Separation Agreement

Virginia Separation Agreement

Under Virginia law, if the husband and wife have signed a separation agreement, the terms are binding on the court. There are however exceptions, for example if the Virginia separation agreement is unconscionable or entered into under duress or diminished capacity, the separation agreement may not be binding Under Virginia law. Additionally, the child custody terms may not bind the court, since the court decides child custody based on the best interests of the child and not necessarily the parents’ wishes. A poorly drafted Virginia separation agreement is sometimes worse than not having an agreement at all! Therefore it is strongly recommended to have a Virginia separation agreement that is drafted by a Virginia lawyer.

A Virginia separation agreement will contain, at an absolute minimum, terms addressing the following matters:

* Distribution of Property: This section of the Virginia separation agreement addresses basic issues, for example who gets the house; who pays the mortgage; who keeps which car; how to handle insurance payments for property; what happens to the bank, retirement, and investment accounts. Before you enter into a Virginia property settlement or separation agreement, you need to be aware of the provisions provided under the law. Know your Virginia rights before contracting them away!
* Child support: In Virginia, child support is awarded pursuant to the Virginia child support guidelines as well as other important considerations. Be aware of the law before entering into a Virginia separation agreement. Remember, under Virginia law, the parents cannot waive the child’s right to be supported by his/her parents.
* Child custody: Should you agree to joint custody, sole custody, or shared custody? How do you address both physical and legal custody? What will be the visitation schedule? How does it compare to what a court would award if the case is litigated? Will the Virginia separation agreement be binding on the court?
* Alimony or spousal support: The terms of a Virginia separation agreement are generally binding on the court. The duration and the amount of spousal support agreed to as part of a Virginia separation agreement has a significant impact on your legal rights.

The Court may incorporate a property settlement agreement between the parties to its Final Decree of Divorce

§ 20-109.1. Affirmation, ratification and incorporation by reference in decree of agreement between parties.

Any court may affirm, ratify and incorporate by reference in its decree dissolving a marriage or decree of divorce whether from the bond of matrimony or from bed and board, or by a separate decree prior to or subsequent to such decree, or in a decree entered in a suit for annulment or separate maintenance, and in a proceeding arising under subsection A 3 or L of § 16.1-241, any valid agreement between the parties, or provisions thereof, concerning the conditions of the maintenance of the parties, or either of them and the care, custody and maintenance of their minor children, or establishing or imposing any other condition or consideration, monetary or nonmonetary. Provisions in such agreements for the modification of child support shall be valid and enforceable. Unless otherwise provided for in such agreement or decree incorporating such agreement, such future modifications shall not require a subsequent court decree. This section shall be subject to the provisions of § 20-108. Where the court affirms, ratifies and incorporates by reference in its decree such agreement or provision thereof, it shall be deemed for all purposes to be a term of the decree, and enforceable in the same manner as any provision of such decree. The provisions of this section shall apply to any decree hereinbefore or hereinafter entered affirming, ratifying and incorporating an agreement as provided herein. Upon the death or remarriage of the spouse receiving support, spousal support shall terminate unless otherwise provided by stipulation or contract. In any case where jurisdiction is obtained over a nonresident defendant by order of publication or by acceptance of service pursuant to § 20-99.1:1, any properly acknowledged and otherwise valid agreement entered into between the parties may be affirmed, ratified and incorporated as provided in this section.

These are only some of the terms of a Virginia separation agreement. Fault grounds, estate rights, forum selection, alternative dispute resolution and many other terms can be included in a Virginia separation agreement. Our Virginia lawyers can provide you with Virginia divorce advice.

Contact a Virginia Divorce and Separation Agreement Lawyer.

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions).

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Virginia Uncontested Divorce

Virginia Uncontested Divorce

To be able to obtain a Virginia uncontested divorce neither the husband nor the wife may assert causes for divorce. In most situations, a written separation agreement is also required.

A Virginia uncontested divorce attorney can assist you through the entire Virginia uncontested divorce proceeding. We offer the option of a flat fee for obtaining an uncontested divorce in Virginia as long as certain requirements are met.

Contact a Virginia uncontested divorce attorney.

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions).
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Virginia Spousal Support

Virginia Spousal Support and Alimony

In Virginia, there are two types of spousal support, pendente lite support and post-divorce spousal support.

* Temporary (Pendente Lite) spousal support in Virginia
* “Permanent” spousal support

An award of Virginia pendente lite spousal support occurs while the divorce proceeding is pending and is designed to assist the recipient to maintain the divorce suit. Pendente lite spousal support can be awarded in Virginia shortly after the filing of the divorce complaint. Many Courts conduct Pendente Lite hearings on Fridays.

The Court’s authority to award temporary spousal support during a Virginia divorce lawsuit is statutory.

§ 20-103. Court may make orders pending suit for divorce, custody or visitation, etc.

A. In suits for divorce, annulment and separate maintenance, and in proceedings arising under subdivision A 3 or subsection L of § 16.1-241, the court having jurisdiction of the matter may, at any time pending a suit pursuant to this chapter, in the discretion of such court, make any order that may be proper (i) to compel a spouse to pay any sums necessary for the maintenance and support of the petitioning spouse, including an order that the other spouse provide health care coverage for the petitioning spouse, unless it is shown that such coverage cannot be obtained, (ii) to enable such spouse to carry on the suit, (iii) to prevent either spouse from imposing any restraint on the personal liberty of the other spouse, (iv) to provide for the custody and maintenance of the minor children of the parties, including an order that either party provide health care coverage for the children, (v) to provide support, calculated in accordance with § 20-108.2, for any child of the parties to whom a duty of support is owed and to continue to support any child over the age of 18 who meets the requirements set forth in subsection C of § 20-124.2, (vi) for the exclusive use and possession of the family residence during the pendency of the suit, (vii) to preserve the estate of either spouse, so that it be forthcoming to meet any decree which may be made in the suit, or (viii) to compel either spouse to give security to abide such decree. The parties to any petition where a child whose custody, visitation, or support is contested shall show proof that they have attended within the 12 months prior to their court appearance or that they shall attend within 45 days thereafter an educational seminar or other like program conducted by a qualified person or organization approved by the court except that the court may require the parties to attend such seminar or program in uncontested cases only if the court finds good cause. The seminar or other program shall be a minimum of four hours in length and shall address the effects of separation or divorce on children, parenting responsibilities, options for conflict resolution and financial responsibilities. Once a party has completed one educational seminar or other like program, the required completion of additional programs shall be at the court’s discretion. Parties under this section shall include natural or adoptive parents of the child, or any person with a legitimate interest as defined in § 20-124.1. The fee charged a party for participation in such program shall be based on the party’s ability to pay; however, no fee in excess of $50 may be charged. Whenever possible, before participating in mediation or alternative dispute resolution to address custody, visitation or support, each party shall have attended the educational seminar or other like program. The court may grant an exemption from attendance of such program for good cause shown or if there is no program reasonably available. Other than statements or admissions by a party admitting criminal activity or child abuse, no statement or admission by a party in such seminar or program shall be admissible into evidence in any subsequent proceeding.

B. In addition to the terms provided in subsection A, upon a showing by a party of reasonable apprehension of physical harm to that party by such party’s family or household member as that term is defined in § 16.1-228, and consistent with rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the court may enter an order excluding that party’s family or household member from the jointly owned or jointly rented family dwelling. In any case where an order is entered under this paragraph, pursuant to an ex parte hearing, the order shall not exclude a family or household member from the family dwelling for a period in excess of 15 days from the date the order is served, in person, upon the person so excluded. The order may provide for an extension of time beyond the 15 days, to become effective automatically. The person served may at any time file a written motion in the clerk’s office requesting a hearing to dissolve or modify the order. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the court from extending an order entered under this subsection for such longer period of time as is deemed appropriate, after a hearing on notice to the parties. If the party subject to the order fails to appear at this hearing, the court may extend the order for a period not to exceed six months.

C. In cases other than those for divorce in which a custody or visitation arrangement for a minor child is sought, the court may enter an order providing for custody, visitation or maintenance pending the suit as provided in subsection A. The order shall be directed to either parent or any person with a legitimate interest who is a party to the suit.

D. Orders entered pursuant to this section which provide for custody or visitation arrangements pending the suit shall be made in accordance with the standards set out in Chapter 6.1 (§ 20-124.1 et seq.) of this title. Orders entered pursuant to subsection B shall be certified by the clerk and forwarded as soon as possible to the local police department or sheriff’s office which shall, on the date of receipt, enter the name of the person subject to the order and other appropriate information required by the Department of State Police into the Virginia crime information network system established and maintained by the Department of State Police pursuant to Chapter 2 (§ 52-12 et seq.) of Title 52. If the order is later dissolved or modified, a copy of the dissolution or modification shall also be certified, forwarded and entered in the system as described above.

E. An order entered pursuant to this section shall have no presumptive effect and shall not be determinative when adjudicating the underlying cause.

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Upon entry of the Final Decree of divorce, the court may award spousal support. This award of Virginia spousal support may be permanent, meaning until the death or remarriage of the receiving spouse, or for a defined period of time.

The factors that a Virginia court must consider when awarding spousal support are the following:

* The earning capacity, obligations, needs and financial resources of the parties, including but not limited to income from all pension, profit sharing or retirement plans, of whatever nature;
* The education and training of the parties and the ability and opportunity of the parties to secure such education and training;
* The standard of living established during the marriage;
* The duration of the marriage;
* The age and physical and mental condition of the parties;
* The contributions, monetary and non monetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
* The property interest of the parties, both real and personal, tangible and intangible;
* The provisions made with regard to the marital property; and
* Such other factors, including the tax consequences to each party , as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.

As is the case with most Virginia divorce law, the Court’s authority to award spousal support at the conclusion of the Virginia divorce suit is controlled by statute.

§ 20-107.1. Court may decree as to maintenance and support of spouses.

A. Pursuant to any proceeding arising under subsection L of § 16.1-241 or upon the entry of a decree providing (i) for the dissolution of a marriage, (ii) for a divorce, whether from the bond of matrimony or from bed and board, (iii) that neither party is entitled to a divorce, or (iv) for separate maintenance, the court may make such further decree as it shall deem expedient concerning the maintenance and support of the spouses. However, the court shall have no authority to decree maintenance and support payable by the estate of a deceased spouse.

B. Any maintenance and support shall be subject to the provisions of § 20-109, and no permanent maintenance and support shall be awarded from a spouse if there exists in such spouse’s favor a ground of divorce under the provisions of subdivision (1) of § 20-91. However, the court may make such an award notwithstanding the existence of such ground if the court determines from clear and convincing evidence, that a denial of support and maintenance would constitute a manifest injustice, based upon the respective degrees of fault during the marriage and the relative economic circumstances of the parties.

C. The court, in its discretion, may decree that maintenance and support of a spouse be made in periodic payments for a defined duration, or in periodic payments for an undefined duration, or in a lump sum award, or in any combination thereof.

D. In addition to or in lieu of an award pursuant to subsection C, the court may reserve the right of a party to receive support in the future. In any case in which the right to support is so reserved, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the reservation will continue for a period equal to 50 percent of the length of time between the date of the marriage and the date of separation. Once granted, the duration of such a reservation shall not be subject to modification.

E. The court, in determining whether to award support and maintenance for a spouse, shall consider the circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including adultery and any other ground for divorce under the provisions of subdivision (3) or (6) of § 20-91 or § 20-95. In determining the nature, amount and duration of an award pursuant to this section, the court shall consider the following:

1. The obligations, needs and financial resources of the parties, including but not limited to income from all pension, profit sharing or retirement plans, of whatever nature;

2. The standard of living established during the marriage;

3. The duration of the marriage;

4. The age and physical and mental condition of the parties and any special circumstances of the family;

5. The extent to which the age, physical or mental condition or special circumstances of any child of the parties would make it appropriate that a party not seek employment outside of the home;

6. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;

7. The property interests of the parties, both real and personal, tangible and intangible;

8. The provisions made with regard to the marital property under § 20-107.3;

9. The earning capacity, including the skills, education and training of the parties and the present employment opportunities for persons possessing such earning capacity;

10. The opportunity for, ability of, and the time and costs involved for a party to acquire the appropriate education, training and employment to obtain the skills needed to enhance his or her earning ability;

11. The decisions regarding employment, career, economics, education and parenting arrangements made by the parties during the marriage and their effect on present and future earning potential, including the length of time one or both of the parties have been absent from the job market;

12. The extent to which either party has contributed to the attainment of education, training, career position or profession of the other party; and

13. Such other factors, including the tax consequences to each party, as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.

F. In contested cases in the circuit courts, any order granting, reserving or denying a request for spousal support shall be accompanied by written findings and conclusions of the court identifying the factors in subsection E which support the court’s order. If the court awards periodic support for a defined duration, such findings shall identify the basis for the nature, amount and duration of the award and, if appropriate, a specification of the events and circumstances reasonably contemplated by the court which support the award.

G. For purposes of this section and § 20-109, “date of separation” means the earliest date at which the parties are physically separated and at least one party intends such separation to be permanent provided the separation is continuous thereafter and “defined duration” means a period of time (i) with a specific beginning and ending date or (ii) specified in relation to the occurrence or cessation of an event or condition other than death or termination pursuant to § 20-110.

H. Where there are no minor children whom the parties have a mutual duty to support, an order directing the payment of spousal support, including those orders confirming separation agreements, entered on or after October 1, 1985, whether they are original orders or modifications of existing orders, shall contain the following:

1. If known, the name, date of birth and social security number of each party and, unless otherwise ordered, each party’s residential and, if different, mailing address, residential and employer telephone number, driver’s license number, and the name and address of his employer; however, when a protective order has been issued or the court otherwise finds reason to believe that a party is at risk of physical or emotional harm from the other party, information other than the name of the party at risk shall not be included in the order;

2. The amount of periodic spousal support expressed in fixed sums, together with the payment interval, the date payments are due, and the date the first payment is due;

3. A statement as to whether there is an order for health care coverage for a party;

4. If support arrearages exist, (i) to whom an arrearage is owed and the amount of the arrearage, (ii) the period of time for which such arrearage is calculated, and (iii) a direction that all payments are to be credited to current spousal support obligations first, with any payment in excess of the current obligation applied to arrearages;

5. If spousal support payments are ordered to be paid directly to the obligee, and unless the court for good cause shown orders otherwise, the parties shall give each other and the court at least 30 days’ written notice, in advance, of any change of address and any change of telephone number within 30 days after the change; and

6. Notice that in determination of a spousal support obligation, the support obligation as it becomes due and unpaid creates a judgment by operation of law.

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Our law firm is your Virginia divorce lawyer with experience with all issues related to divorce, spousal support, and alimony in Virginia. Contact a Virginia alimony and spousal support lawyer.

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions). Continue reading

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Virginia Child Support

Virginia Child Support

Under Virginia law, both parents have an absolute duty to support their children. Virginia has enacted child support guidelines that control the award of child support in Virginia. The Virginia child support guidelines consider the combined income of both parents as well as the cost of medical insurance for the children, extraordinary medical expenses, the cost of daycare, and the support being provided for other children.

The Virginia child support guidelines are presumed to provide the correct level of Virginia child support. In Virginia, the court will rarely deviate from the statutory child support guidelines. However, if the court were to deviate from the guidelines, the court would find that the presumption favoring the Virginia child support guidelines has been overcome. The court will apply the following factors to determine whether to deviate from the Virginia child support guidelines:

* Actual monetary support for other children or family members;
* Arrangement regarding custody of children;
* Imputed income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed or voluntarily underemployed
* Debts of either party arising during the marriage for the benefit of the child;
* Debts incurred for the production of income;
* Independent financial resources of the child;
* Earning capacity, obligations and needs, and financial resources of each parent;
* Written agreements between the parties as to amount of child support;
* other relevant considerations.

Virginia allows for the collection of child support through income withholding orders. Additionally, when the amount of support no longer represents the situation of the parties, Virginia courts can modify the amount of support ordered. For additional Virginia child support information and legal advice:

Contact a Virginia child support lawyer

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions).

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Virginia Felony

Virginia Felony

Virginia Felonies are classified as follows:

Class 1 felonies – death, or imprisonment for life and a fine of up to $100,000.

Class 2 felonies – imprisonment for life or a minimum of 20 years and a fine of up to $100,000.

For Class 3 felonies – imprisonment for five to 20 years and a fine of up to $100,000

For Class 4 felonies – imprisonment for two to 10 years and a fine of up to $100,000.

Class 5 felonies – imprisonment for one to 10 years or jail for up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500, either or both.

Class 6 felonies – imprisonment for one to five years or jail for up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500, either or both.

Some commonly charged felonies in Virginia include:

* Murder
* Malicious wounding
* Armed robbery, grand larceny, and other serious theft crimes
* Possession or distribution of drugs
* Third offense of Domestic assault (3rd offense or greater)
* Felony DWI

Contact a Virginia felony defense lawyer

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions). Continue reading

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