Building a Defense For Manassas Criminal Charges
It is a stressful experience getting charged with a crime in Manassas. A Manassas criminal lawyer can help you navigate through the experience, providing important and valuable advice along the way. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer as early as possible can also give someone the benefit of getting an early start on building one’s defense. Call today to schedule a consultation as soon as possible.
First Thing to Do When Charged With Crime in Manassas
If someone is charged with a crime in Manassas, the first thing they should do is stop talking about what has happened to anyone except their attorney. Statements that are made by defendants to police, friends, family members, or witnesses at a scene are frequently incriminating and will be used against them later in court. This leads into the second thing they should do which is get the advice of a good lawyer as soon as possible. There will always be proactive steps an attorney can take in advance of court to shape the outcome in the case. Speaking to an attorney will also give an individual significant peace of mind and will reduce much of the fear of the unknown that so frequently gives people anxiety in advance of their court date when they are charged with something serious.
An attorney can give valuable advice in a pre-arrest scenario to someone who is being investigated but has not been charged. There are a number of proactive steps an attorney can take to begin shaping a potential case or even to head off charges from being brought at all. These steps will vary from case to case depending on the circumstances. However, it is critically important to involve a lawyer in the process the moment that someone becomes aware the police are focused on them. This is true whether they find out because an officer approaches them or they have some other reason to know that they are being investigated.
Our Approach to Investigating a Case
We conduct our own investigation in every case. The kind of evidence we are looking for is witness testimony, and that can be from a police officer, the accused, witnesses to the crime, and expert witnesses. We are also looking for any forensic evidence that may exist, such as chemical analysis, ballistics, DNA, fingerprints, or any other circumstantial evidence which tends to show my client’s innocence.
We gather this evidence by interviewing everyone who is involved in the situation beginning with the defendant and then in most cases also the police officer. It is then possible to determine what other kinds of evidence may exist in the case through properly made motions in court as well as informal conversations with the prosecutor so that we can gain the best idea possible about how to defend the case in court.
Constitutional Issues And Their Potential Impact
Every time you are stopped by police, your constitutional rights come into play, therefore constitutional issues can be part of any case. For example, in order for police to stop your vehicle or stop you on the street, they must have reasonable or articulable suspicion that the crime has been committed or that traffic violations has occurred. That is a constitutional right because prohibits unreasonable seizures without reasonable or articulable suspicion.
Additionally, there are all types of constitutional issues involved in the search of your person, seizure of goods, a search of your house or car, and any statements that are made pursuant to your custodial interrogation where the Miranda Warnings apply. So the constitution plays a factor in every single case that comes before the courts in Virginia.
Impact it Can Have on a Case
Constitutional issues can have a huge impact on a case. For example, if something is seized in an unconstitutional manner or if any statements were obtained in violation of the constitution, an attorney may be able to file a motion to suppress.
If you are successful in the motion to suppress, the evidence that they obtained in violation of the constitution will be excluded from the trial and will often lead to dismissal of the charges. Many times you can win the case through a motion to suppress.
Unique Aspects of Defending Criminal Cases in Manassas
Every jurisdiction is a little bit different in terms of defending a criminal case. This has to do with the personalities of the judges as well as the personalities and culture of the prosecutor’s office. In Manassas there are certain areas that get a higher degree of focus and less leniency than other jurisdictions. Some examples include sex crime cases, property crime cases such as concealment or shoplifting, and drug crime cases, including simple possession of marijuana all the way up to sale and distribution of a schedule I or II drug.
Steps to Help Your Defense After Being Charged
The most important thing a person can do to assist in their own defense is to not make statements about the case to anyone except for their attorney. First and foremost individuals help themselves out by not creating any new evidence in the case in the form of their own statements which may be used against them. In addition, there are numerous other proactive steps that a person can take to assist in the defense, such as finding witnesses, determining what the defense will say, and gathering or preserving other evidence. Similarly, the defendant can do things to mitigate and get themselves better plea agreements, such as taking classes and entering into treatment in the right circumstances. They also may be able to get certain tests or analyses done, such as speedometer calibration, independent chemical analysis, or a drug test.