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Vienna, Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer

Your Rights are Always Worth Defending

The criminal justice system is rife with confusing legal processes. Being accused of a crime is frightening, making the interpretation of those processes even more difficult. The consequences of a criminal conviction can be dire and can result in the loss of an individual’s reputation, employment, and freedom.

To defend yourself from the worst the prosecution will throw at you, choose to work with top legal representation from Portner & Shure, P.A. Our Vienna criminal defense attorneys have decades of collective legal experience focused on always doing what is best for our clients. Whether you have been accused of a misdemeanor or a felony, we want to be the team that stands up for you in court.

See what strong criminal defense representation can do for you. Call (703) 291-3263.

Fairfax, Virginia Criminal Courts

The Commonwealth of Virginia has two trial courts. The General District Court is authorized to hear misdemeanor criminal cases. However, there are no jury trials in the General District Court. The Circuit Court has jurisdiction to hear felony cases and de novo appeals from the General District Court. Jury trials are held in the Circuit Court.

Our law firm is familiar with both of these courts, the judges who preside over them, and locals who will make up a jury. Make our familiarity your advantage by letting us work on your criminal defense case.

Virginia Criminal Laws

The Commonwealth of Virginia divides criminal offenses into felonies and misdemeanors. The difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the amount of jail or prison time a person can receive upon conviction and sentencing. Historically, misdemeanor crimes carried a maximum of one year in jail while felonies carried a minimum of one year and one day in prison, but felonies can now lock you away for multiple life sentences.

There are six classes of felonies and four classes of misdemeanors in Virginia. As the class escalated in severity, the penalties will increase, too.

Common Misconceptions Regarding Virginia Criminal Law

People think that a criminal charge and a conviction are the same. They are not. Being charged with a crime is merely an allegation by the Commonwealth’s Attorney. A criminal conviction is a finding of guilt on a particular criminal charge. Despite being charged with a crime, an individual is presumed to be innocent and does not have to prove their innocence. Instead, the Commonwealth’s Attorney has to prove an accused individual’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Another common misconception is that police officers and prosecutors are friends of the defendant. They are not. In fact, police officers and prosecutors may try to manipulate or intimidate people into surrendering or waiving their constitutional rights as someone who has been criminally accused.

Defenses for Your Criminal Case

The facts of any criminal case are unique and will influence what legal or factual defenses can be used. The Commonwealth’s Attorney has to prove all elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. By entering a plea of not guilty, an accused individual is testing the State’s case. A thorough review of the evidence may identify a factual defense, e.g. lack of evidence regarding an element of the crime. Or a review of the evidence may identify a legal defense, e.g. a search and seizure issue.

Mistakes to Avoid in Your Vienna, Virginia Criminal Case

No one expects to be charged with a crime. For people who find themselves being charged with a crime, there are several mistakes they should always avoid.

Do your best to never do any of the following:

  • Speak with police or prosecutors without an attorney.
  • Consent to a search
  • Speak with a complaining victim or witness
  • Go to court without a lawyer

Criminal Defense Services Portner & Shure, P.A. Can Provide

The attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. have been successfully representing clients for criminal matters in Virginia Courts for more than 30 years. Our attorneys make regular appearances in Northern Virginia’s Courthouses, and our name is well known among local prosecutors.

Some criminal defense cases we regularly work on include:

In addition to excellent reviews from prior clients, Portner & Shure, P.A.’s reputation in the legal community can be seen with the numerous awards our attorneys have earned. We hope you choose us to be your first and strongest line of defense when you are charged with a crime in Vienna.

We should start your case as soon as possible. Call (703) 291-3263 or contact us online.


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