Charleston, West Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you get charged with a crime in Charleston, West Virginia, you need legal advice. The costs of letting the charge go unchallenged are severe: A conviction can carry prison time, substantial criminal fines, and other penalties, particularly if it is a felony offense.
All of the lawyers at The Criminal Defense Firm have decades of experience protecting criminal defendants and suspects from state and federal charges of all severities. With their legal guidance and aggressive courtroom advocacy, our clients have secured favorable outcomes from drastically reduced sentences to outright jury acquittals.
We Handle a Wide Variety of Criminal Cases
The defense attorneys at The Criminal Defense Firm have lots of experience representing criminal defendants, including those who stand accused in Charleston. Over years of practice, we have helped clients battle a wide assortment of criminal charges, from misdemeanors to the most severe felonies. Just a few of the offenses that we have handled include:
- Bank fraud
- Computer fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Domestic violence
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Drug importation
- Drug manufacturing
- Drug possession
- Drug possession with the intent to distribute
- Drug trafficking
- Drug trafficking on the internet
- Healthcare fraud
- Insider trading
- Insurance fraud
- Internet crimes
- Mail and wire fraud
- Mann Act violations
- Money laundering
- Online child pornography
- Prescription drug charges
- Securities fraud
- Sexual assault
- Tribal law violations
- White collar crime
These cases span a wide variety of severities, from Class 4 misdemeanors all the way up to Class 1 felonies.
Protecting You from the Severe Penalties of a Conviction
Criminal convictions carry some significant penalties – even for minor offenses. Those penalties fall into a handful of different categories:
- Jail time
- Other financial penalties, like restitution payments and disgorgement
- Other legal obligations, such as community service
- Collateral consequences of having a criminal history
In West Virginia, the potential fines and jail time depend on the criminal classification:
|Classification||Maximum Fine||Potential Jail Time|
|Class 4 misdemeanor||$250||Rarely any|
|Class 3 misdemeanor||$500||Rarely any|
|Class 2 misdemeanor||$1,000||0 to 6 months|
|Class 1 misdemeanor||$2,500||0 to 12 months|
|Class 6 felony||$2,500||0 to 5 years|
|Class 5 felony||$2,500||1 to 10 years|
|Class 4 felony||2 to 10 years|
|Class 3 felony||5 to 25 years|
|Class 2 felony||Up to 25 years|
|Class 1 felony||Up to life imprisonment|
In addition to these penalties, you are also likely to face additional repercussions depending on the criminal offense, such as:
- Sex offender registration for a serious sex offense
- Loss of professional certifications or eligibility to enter certain professions due to your criminal background
- Lost civil rights, such as your right to vote or own a firearm
- Disgorgement or forfeiture of any money or other assets that were obtained through fraudulent means
Some Legal Defenses That You Can Invoke
There are numerous legal defenses that you can raise to challenge a criminal allegation in Charleston. The best one for your case will depend on the precise factual circumstances that surround it. In some cases, more than one will apply. A few include:
- Alibi – By presenting evidence that you were not at the scene of the offense, such as through testimony from the person you were with or other indications that you were somewhere else, you can show that you could not have committed the crime
- Consent – If the alleged victim consented to the offense, like if you were charged with assault but the victim had agreed to a boxing match, you should not be held liable for the crime
- Duress – If you only committed the offense because you were being threatened with serious bodily harm or death if you did not commit it, that would be a duress defense
- Entrapment – If police officers coerce you into committing a crime that you would not have committed without their help, it is entrapment
- Illegal search or seizure – If police officers conduct an unreasonable search or seizure, it can violate your civil rights under the Fourth Amendment and trigger the exclusionary rule, which forbids the use of any evidence that the violation obtained
- Self-defense – If you are facing charges for committing a violent crime, it can be a complete defense if you can show that you only committed it to protect yourself or someone else from imminent harm
The defense lawyers have the experience to know which one of these defenses is the best to raise for your case.
We Defend Against Both State and Federal Offenses
One of the things that sets The Criminal Defense Firm apart from others in Charleston is that we are at home in both state and federal courts.
Because most criminal offenses are state crimes, most criminal defense lawyers practice almost entirely in state courts in West Virginia. Some go their entire careers without ever setting foot in either of the federal district courts in the state.
This is important because federal offenses are not only more severe, but also much more intense than state criminal cases. The federal government has law enforcement agencies that are multiple times more powerful than West Virginia’s district attorneys or the attorney general’s office. This means that federal investigations are more thorough, arduous, and exhaustive.
If you have been accused of committing a federal offense in Charleston, you need a defense lawyer who is accustomed to the heightened stakes and the intense pressure that comes with fighting back against the federal government.
The Criminal Defense Firm is filled with defense lawyers like that. Many of them have even come to our firm after years of investigating and prosecuting cases that are similar to your own at some of the leading federal law enforcement agencies, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Some FAQs About The Criminal Defense Firm and the Criminal Justice System in Charleston
What is the Difference Between a State and a Federal Offense?
State offenses are alleged violations of West Virginia’s criminal laws, and are prosecuted by your local district attorney’s office or by the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office. Federal offenses are allegations of violations of federal law that are prosecuted by a federal law enforcement agency, most often the DOJ.
The fallout from these differences is not small.
Federal offenses tend to be more severe and carry higher penalties than state offenses. Additionally, federal law enforcement is unlikely to prosecute misdemeanor violations of federal law that also violate state law; they are more likely to let state or local prosecutors handle the case.
Perhaps most importantly, though, is the difference between the resources that state and federal investigators have access to. Federal law enforcement agencies are among the most powerful in the world. The investigations that they produce are exceptionally thorough and rarely leave any stone unturned. This makes combatting a federal charge much more difficult than a state charge. Having a defense attorney who is up to the task is very important.
What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony in West Virginia?
The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is one year in prison. Misdemeanor convictions cannot carry more than that. Felonies can.
Why Should I Count on The Criminal Defense Firm?
There are two things that set The Criminal Defense Firm apart from other criminal defense lawyers in Charleston, West Virginia.
First, we have extensive experience in federal court. This makes our attorneys ideal for defending against federal criminal allegations because we are used to the increased stakes at play and the additional pressures of going up against the resources of a federal law enforcement agency in district court. However, it also means that our defense lawyers can easily handle a criminal charge in state court, where the proceedings are far less intense.
Second, The Criminal Defense Firm is unique in that we exclusively employ senior-level attorneys. Many of our lawyers have spent years as investigators and U.S. attorneys, prosecuting federal offenses inside one of the many federal law enforcement agencies with criminal jurisdiction. All of them, however, have at least a decade of experience representing clients in criminal court.
This means two things for you:
- Because we solely employ senior lawyers, all of your legal representation will be performed by one of them. We will not pass your case off to a junior associate at our firm because we have no junior associates
- All of your communications with our firm go straight to the senior lawyer on your case. You will not have to worry about your concerns having to get through several levels of paralegals and junior lawyers before reaching the person who needs to hear them
Why Don't You Call Yourselves the Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Charleston?
Because those sorts of judgments mean far more when they come from our prior clients. Read their testimonials here.
Call The Criminal Defense Firm for Representation in Charleston, West Virginia
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, or you suspect that you are under investigation for committing one, you need effective legal representation and you need it now.
Call The Criminal Defense Firm at (866) 603-4540 or contact us online to get started on your case immediately.