West Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
West Virginia is perhaps best known for its coal mines that have been used to help power the country’s economy. However, the state is also known for many other things such as the University of West Virginia and being the subject of John Denver’s hit song “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” While the people in the state are generally friendly, you could be subject to serious penalties if you engage in poor behavior such as drunk driving or starting fights with your colleagues.
What to Know About the Legal Process
If you are taken into custody, it is important to understand that you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Federal law requires officers to alert you to these rights prior to being questioned by authorities after being taken into custody. If you are forced to talk before you are made aware of your Miranda rights, anything you say may be suppressed by a judge.
After you are taken into custody, you may be taken to jail for processing. It is also possible that you will be given an appearance ticket depending on the severity of the crime that you are accused of committing. Regardless, the next step in the process is to see a judge and hear the charges against you. If you were taken to jail prior to your arraignment, there is a chance that you will be released either on your own recognizance or after making bail.
If you have reached a plea deal in the case, you will plead guilty at the arraignment or at some point soon after. At this point, a sentencing date will be scheduled where the judge will determine whether to accept the deal as-is or to make adjustments. Otherwise, you will enter a not guilty plea and future hearings will be held to address any issues your attorney may have.
Why Hire an Attorney from The Criminal Defense Firm?
Hiring an attorney from our firm may be in your best interest because we understand how unnerving it can be to be charged with a crime. From the moment that you are taken into custody, you will probably experience a variety of emotions such as fear, anxiety and shame. You may have questions about how a criminal charge or conviction might impact your ability to be a good parent or continue to run your business.
Whoever is assigned to your case will be able to provide a road map as to what might happen as your case progresses. Although an attorney cannot guarantee any particular outcome, understanding what is likely or unlikely to happen might make it easier to sleep at night. It may also reduce the risk that you say or do something with the false hope that it will result in leniency from the authorities.
Your West Virginia criminal defense attorney will likely be a former federal prosecutor or someone who has spent time serving as members of the IRS, DEA or other federal agencies. Therefore, the advice that you receive will be based on what that person has experienced in past cases similar to yours. Again, past results do not guarantee any sort of outcome in your matter, but it can provide you and your attorney with insight that might make it easier to obtain a favorable outcome.
The Types of Cases We Handle
Our firm will handle just about any type of case that you might bring to us. For instance, if you are charged with drunk or impaired driving, we will be able to assist in your case. The same is true if you are charged with assault and battery, tax evasion or larceny. Other cases we typically see include those involving drug possession, murder or fraud. Let us take a closer look at some of these charges and what might happen if you are convicted of them.
Assault and Battery
Assault and battery cases are among the most common that are pursued by state authorities. Assault occurs when you create the apprehension of immediate physical harm. Battery occurs when you actually put your hands on someone or intentionally take other actions that result in bodily injury to another person. A conviction on either charge may result in jail or prison time, a fine, and probation. Additional or enhanced penalties may apply if you are charged with sexual assault or battery or assault or battery on a police officer.
Drunk or Impaired Driving
You cannot operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than .08%. You are also prohibited from doing so while under the influence of drugs or prescription medications. If convicted of drunk or impaired driving, you may pay a fine, lose your driver’s license or be subject to other penalties such as installing an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car.
State law forbids you from possessing controlled substances such as heroin, LSD or cocaine. If you are convicted of this charge, you might spend many years or decades in prison or pay a fine totaling thousands of dollars or more. If you are charged with possession with intent to distribute, you may spend the rest of your life in prison.
Financial crimes such as tax evasion, fraud or larceny may carry significant penalties such as jail or prison time and large fines. You may also be required to give up professional licenses or adhere to other restrictions for months or years after your case is resolved. There is also a possibility that you will be charged with federal crimes on top of any that are levied by the state. A West Virginia criminal defense attorney may be able to help defend you against accusations made by state or federal authorities.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens during the initial consultation?
The initial consultation allows you to tell your story without the need to divulge your name, location or other sensitive information. This gives us a chance to learn more about you and your case, which can be helpful when it comes time to select an attorney to represent your interests. For instance, if you are a commercial driver who was charged with DUI, we may select someone who has experience representing those who are self-employed.
Do I have to hire you after the initial consultation?
No, there is no obligation to hire The Criminal Defense Firm simply because you had an initial consultation. In fact, it is fairly common for those who have been charged with a crime to talk to several firms before making a hiring decision. However, we will likely send you a proposal that you can choose to either sign or ignore. If you sign and return the form, you are generally bound by our terms until the relationship is terminated. It is worth noting that the consultation itself is free, and anything that you say is generally covered by attorney-client privilege.
What is attorney-client privilege?
Anything that you say to your West Virginia criminal defense attorney is generally considered to be confidential. This is designed to ensure that you are allowed to speak freely to the person who is tasked with creating a zealous defense in your case. Ideally, you will provide any information that you have about the case to your lawyer so that it can be incorporated into a defense strategy. It is important to note that your attorney is required to provide a good faith defense even if you admit to committing the crime in question. In most cases, privilege does not expire until the day that you die, and legal counsel has no right to waive that privilege without your permission.
What types of defense strategies might be used?
The defense strategy used in your case will be based on a number of factors such as the strength of the evidence and your desired outcome. For example, if the evidence in the case is fairly strong, an attorney may try to have it suppressed. This may be done by claiming that you are a victim of an illegal search and seizure or that you made statements because you were not made aware of your right to remain silent.
By creating sufficient doubt about the state’s case against you, it may be possible to create leverage for a plea deal or to have the charges dropped. Generally speaking, our firm’s approach to plea deals is that we will continue to fight for an acquittal even if a plea is the quickest way to resolve the matter. By remaining on the offensive, your advocate maintains sufficient leverage to negotiate the best possible deal.
Contact Us Today
If you are in need of a West Virginia attorney, call our national intake number at 866-603-4540 or start a live chat through our website to learn more about how we may be able to help.