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Portsmouth Criminal Defense Lawyer

Suffolk & Portsmouth Criminal Defense Attorney

Criminal Defense Lawyer in Tidewater Area

If you are facing a criminal charge, it is absolutely crucial that you are assisted by a Portsmouth criminal defense attorney. Facing criminal charges on your own or with a court-appointed lawyer is taking a dangerous chance with your future. Criminal charges such as assault & battery, felony DUI charges, theft offenses, weapons charges, or any charge need high quality, dedicated and relentless defense. At the Law Office of Richardson and Rosenberg, LLC, the legal team has served individuals in Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Isle of Wight and Southampton County areas for decades. An attorney would like to discuss your case with you to determine what defense strategy can be launched. In criminal defense cases, there are often options that the individual may not be aware of that can bring about either dismissed charges or a reduced charge.

Criminal Defense Lawyer in Southampton County and Isle of Wight County

When fighting for your future, you want the most qualified attorney on your side. In court, you will be facing a highly motivated prosecuting attorney who has the full backup of law enforcement. There are many innocent individuals who have ended up spending years in prison due to the lack of a skilled defense lawyer. Don't take any chances when you have criminal charges against you. Contact the legal team of Mike Rosenberg and Barrett Richardson to discuss your case without delay. A powerful and compelling defense begins immediately after your arrest, as there is much to be done to increase the chances of a better outcome in your case.

A felony conviction on your record is life-changing. You may spend years in prison, and if you get out, you will be a convicted felon. Your life will never be the same. Getting jobs, getting a place to live or any other normal activity is no longer simple. When facing such charges, you want legal representation that will really "go the distance" in your case. At Richardson and Rosenberg, the case will be prepared for trial. As seasoned trial lawyers, the courtroom arena is where some battles must be fought, and your representative needs to be skilled and compelling. Call the Law Offices of Richardson and Rosenberg when you seek legal representation for your criminal defense.

Contact a Portsmouth & Suffolk Criminal Defense Attorney from the Law Offices of Richardson and Rosenberg, LLC when you seek a skilled criminal defense attorney that will relentlessly fight for you.



* For helpful information about Bail Bonds and Drug Offenses please see below:


Federal Criminal Law

Felony charges are heard in the U.S. District Court. There are significant differences between Federal and Commonwealth of Virginia criminal procedures including:

  • Grand Jury Practice
  • Pretrial Detention and Bond
  • "Speedy Trial" Requirements
  • Motion Practice Including Pretrial Discovery
  • Conduct of Trial or Other Proceedings
  • Sentencing

Misdemeanor charges, usually resulting from a collection of criminal and/ or traffic violations which occur on a Federal installation, are heard by a United States Magistrate Judge. The charges are often based on Virginia statutes, but the process of trial differs greatly from Virginia General District Courts.


Bail Bonds - Qustions and Answers

Q: What type of bail bonds are there?

A: Personal Recognizance - The defendant does not have to pay money to be released pre - trial. The Court or Magistrate can set conditions including good behavior, supervision by pre-trial services, and not going to certain places or contacting certain people. If you violate the bond or fail to appear, you may owe the Commonwealth the dollar amount of the bond.

Custodian Bond - A responsible person agrees to keep the defendant in their custody. Commonly used for persons with mental or physical illnesses. Military personnel may be released to a Command Representative as custodian.

Surety Bond - A dollar amount may be paid by cash, or posted by a Professional Bondsman for a fee that is percentage a of the bond amount.

Real Estate Bond - The defendant's appearance is secured by Real Estate, if authorized by the Court. A title search may be necessary to prove ownership and the amount of financial equity in the property. Preparation of a Deed of Trust may also be required.

Cash Bond - Full bond amount paid to Court by another person.

Q: Who decides if a person is granted bail and its amount?
A: Usually, a Magistrate first decides. Judges can raise or lower bonds depending on the facts of the case, seriousness of charges, the defendant's prior criminal record (if any), community and family ties, likelihood to appear in court and whether the person is a danger to themselves or others. Bond can be revoked if any conditions are violated.

Q: What is a "Presumption Case"?

A: Section 19.2-120 of the Virginia Code presumes that a person charged with certain offenses shall not be granted a bond. A Judge can grant a bond if they believe this presumption has been rebutted by evidence showing that the defendant will appear in court and is not a danger to themselves or others.

Q: When the case is over, is the bond payment, if any, returned?

A: Surety Bond: No. The fee you pay the Professional Bondsman is for their services.
Real Estate Bond - Any fees for Deed Work or Title Search are not refundable. Note - this firm does not practice Real Estate Law.
Cash Bond - Yes, however fines and court costs may be deducted.

Q: Does this firm represent defendants only for Bond Hearings?
A: Some Courts allow lawyers to enter a limited appearance for Bond Hearings. We do not do this. Once hired to represent a person on the charges, we can, as part of the representation, make a Motion to set or reduce bond.


Drug Offenses - FAQ

Q: Can I be found guilty if the substance was not found on my person?

A: Actual Possession means the substances were found on your body. Constructive Possession means that the items, although not found on your person, were under your dominion and control. Factors considered in a Constructive Possession case include, but are not limited to:

  1. The items' quantity and location;
  2. Your behavior and statements, if any, to law enforcement;
  3. Ownership and/ or occupancy of the home, apartment, room or vehicle where the items are found;

Q: What is the difference between Possession of Drugs and Possession with Intent to Distribute? (PWID)

A: The penalties for PWID are much higher, and no "First Offender" program is available for PWID cases. Factors that determine if a person possesses the items with Intent to Distribute include:

  1. Quantity;
  2. Packaging;
  3. Presence of scales and cutting agents;
  4. Amount of U.S. Currency recovered;
  5. Absence of ingestion devices (pipes, syringes, papers);
  6. Statements to law enforcement;
  7. Expert testimony;

Q: Can more than one person possess the same substance?

A: Yes.

Q. If the substance is found within property I own or lease does it automatically mean that the Judge or jury will find me guilty?

A: No. Ownership, rental, lease, or occupancy of property is a factor to be considered. It does not create a presumption of guilt.

Q: What is the First Offender Program?

A: If a person has no prior convictions for any drug offense, adult or juvenile (including marijuana), they may be treated under this Program. It only applies to Possession cases, not Possession with Intent to Distribute cases.

A judge can find the evidence sufficient to support a guilty verdict, but continue the case, place the person on Probation, order drug treatment, counseling, and may require Community Service. If the program is successfully completed, the charge will be dismissed. Failure to successfully complete the First Offender Program will result in conviction and possible jail or prison.

Q: Will I lose my Driver's License if I am found guilty of a Drug Offense or treated as a First Offender?

A:
Yes, for six months. If you have a valid license when sentenced, the Judge can authorize a Restricted License for driving at certain times and conditions. If your license is already suspended, the six months is added to the existing time. The Judge will consider a Restricted License if you become otherwise eligible. A restricted Commercial Driver's License may not be issued.

If you are not licensed to drive in Virginia, your home state may grant a Restricted License. An attorney from that State will have to be consulted.

REMEMBER YOU ARE INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. YOUR GUILT MUST BE PROVEN BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.

WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU.


Felony Probation Violations

All adult defendants sentenced to incarceration in Virginia for a felony offense are not eligible for parole, unless they are committed to the Youthful Offender Program or are eligible for Geriatric Parole. In Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Southampton and Chesapeake, the original Judge does not have to hear the Probation Violation. In Portsmouth, the Judge who originally heard the case will hear Probation Violations if available.

Defendants convicted of offenses which occurred after January 1, 1995 must serve at least 85% of the sentence imposed. If it is alleged that they have violated terms of Probation, whether "supervised" or "unsupervised":

1. The Court issues a capias (warrant for arrest) or show cause (summons to appear in court);

2. A hearing is heard before a Circuit Court Judge, who decides whether the terms of probation have been violated, and if so, the sentence.

3. If the defendant has been convicted of a new offense, there are no "Guidelines". If the violations alleged do not include new offenses, there are "Revocation Sentencing Guidelines" The Judge does not have to follow them.

4. Appeals for a violation of probation are very rarely reversed by an appellate court.

Probation Revocations are serious. We are experienced. We can help.


Consequences of Convictions

Being found guilty of a crime may result in additional difficulties. They include:

Suspension or Revocation of Driver's License – Any drug conviction including Marijuana or "First Offender" status result in 6 months' suspension. If otherwise eligible, a restricted license may be issued.

Domestic Assault and Battery (Code 18.2-57.2) – Federal Law prohibits firearm possession if found guilty.

Assault and Battery (Code 18.2-57) – May result in ineligibility for employment in childcare and/or eldercare facilities. No time limit.

Immigration Issues for Non U.S. Citizens – Any conviction of a crime may result in possible deportation or other penalties for non- U.S. citizens, regardless of residence or visa status.

Sex Offender Registration and Civil Commitment – Conviction of certain offenses result in obligations to register and or internet posting of photo and address (work and home).

Travel Restrictions

Loss of Government Benefits

Revocation of Suspended Sentence For Other Offenses