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Portsmouth Criminal Defense Lawyer

Portsmouth & Suffolk Criminal Defense Attorney

Take advantage of the skill and years of experience of the experienced attorneys at Richardson and Rosenberg.

Restoration of Driver's License, Political Rights and Right to Possess Firearms

Criminal Law

Social Security Disability Benefits

Expungements of Criminal Records in Virginia and Criminal Appeals

Appeals

Traffic Law

Personal Injury


Restoration of Driver's License, Political Rights and Right to Possess Firearms:

Operator's License:

If you are NOT classified as a Habitual Offender you must:

Go to DMV, and obtain a "Compliance Printout". That will tell you what needs to be done. If fines are owed, they must be paid in full or the Court(s) may allow you to get on a Payment Plan. Every Court has different requirements for Payment Plans. Child support arrears and unpaid judgments must be satisfied. We suggest you contact them in person. It is better to go in the afternoon. We can assist you with the requirements for reinstatement.

If you are classified as a Habitual Offender you must:

Petition the Circuit Court where you live for restoration. We are experienced in preparing and presenting these Petitions to the Court. Even if you have never been convicted of Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol, ASAP (Alcohol Safety Action Program) must evaluate you by Court Order. All fines must be paid in full before your license may be restored on a restricted or full basis.

Political Rights/Right to Vote/Serve on Juries:

A petition must be filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. The process has been simplified, but, depending on the type of felony conviction which caused the loss of the rights, there are significantly different requirements. We are experienced in assisting with the preparation of these Petitions.

If you are interested in seeking to restore these rights, we suggest you do this as soon as you can. It takes a long time, as it is a lengthy process.

Right to Possess Firearms:

Circuit Court Felony Convictions:

After your political rights are restored, the Circuit Court where you reside may be petitioned for restoration of this right.

Juvenile Court Felony Adjudications:

Most juvenile felony adjudications result in loss of the Right to Possess Firearms until age 29. We must know the specific offense(s) adjudicated, because there are certain "Violent Juvenile Felonies" that result in the loss of this right until a Petition for Restoration is granted.

THERE ARE NO "COLLECTING", "HUNTING", "SPORTING OR "SELF PROTECTION" EXCEPTIONS TO THIS PROHIBITION. CONVICTION OF POSSESSION OF FIREARMS WHILE PROHIBITED MAY BE PUNISHABLE BY A MANDATORY PRISON SENTENCE.

More Questions & Answers - Criminal Law

Q: I was arrested and charged with assault and battery. This was not true, but my ex-wife is trying to discredit me. What can I do?

A: Assault and Battery is a serious charge and can result in jail time if not properly handled by a criminal defense attorney. All the details of the case and evidence against you must be reviewed immediately by a qualified criminal defense attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Richardson and Rosenberg for a free initial consultation. A defense in such cases must begin quickly, as more evidence may need to be found as well as other witness testimony that could help in the defense of your case.

Q: What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

A: Misdemeanors are punishable by a potential jail sentence. Felonies are punishable by a potential prison sentence.

Q: What Court will my case be heard in?

A: Misdemeanors are held in General or Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Preliminary Hearings for felonies are held in General or Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Felony trials are held in the Circuit Court.

Q: What is an Indictment?

A: A charge that is issued by a Grand Jury. After a Preliminary Hearing, the charge(s) may be certified (referred for Grand Jury action). If any charge is dismissed or nolle prossed in a District Court, a direct or straight indictment by Grand Jury may be issued. In some cases, the Commonwealth will prepare Indictments without going through Preliminary Hearing.

Q: Can I have a Jury trial?

A: Only in Circuit Court. Unless you, the Commonwealth and the Judge agree to not have a jury, you must be tried by one if you plead not guilty. Virginia is one of only a few states where a jury recommends a sentence if you are found guilty. This is a major consideration in making this choice.

Q: What is a mandatory minimum sentence?

A: There are some offenses where a defendant must be sentenced to a term of jail or imprisonment if found guilty. The judge has no discretion in these types of cases and must impose the mandatory time.

Q: If I am sentenced, how much time will I actually serve?

  • Felonies - Date of Offense after 1995: There is no parole. You must serve at least 85% of the time imposed.
  • Misdemeanors - Non Mandatory Minimum. You may receive up to 50% credit for good behavior, determined by the Sheriff.
  • Misdemeanor - Mandatory Minimum - You must serve the amount of calendar days.

Questions and Answers about Expungement of Criminal Records in Virginia and Criminal Appeals

Q: Do I have a Criminal record?

A: If you were photographed and fingerprinted, even if the charge or charges were dismissed or "nolle prossed" or you were found "not guilty", you have a record. You do not have to be sentenced to serve time for a charge to be on your record.

Q: If I was treated as a "First Offender" or the charge or charges were taken under advisement, can they be expunged?

A: No. The charge must have been dismissed or "nolle prossed".

Q: What needs to be done to get a charge or charges expunged?

A: After obtaining certified copies of court documents, a Petition for Expungement is filed in the Circuit Court. You will have to be fingerprinted and copies of the Petition and the fingerprint card are mailed to the State Police. Once they review the fingerprints, a report is sent to the Court, and the case is set for hearing. It is rare for the Commonwealth to oppose expungements, but they may if they choose to. There will be a hearing before a Judge. You must attend. We can help you with having your record expunged.

Q: The charge against me was dismissed, and because I received a summons, it does not show on my criminal record. The charge is on the official court website. Can it be removed?

A: Yes, if an expungement is ordered.

Common Misconceptions About Expungements:

1. If I have not been convicted of any new offenses within (5,10,15, etc.) years, I can get an old charge expunged.

NOT TRUE – There currently is no "pardon board" in existence which would allow this to happen. Many states have one – Virginia has not for at least 20 years.

2. If a charge is dismissed under the "First Offender" Law, it can be dismissed.

NOT TRUE – The expungement code specifically prohibits expungements of charges dismissed under this code section:

Virginia Code Section §19.2-392.2.

Expungement of police and court records.

A. If a person is charged with the commission of a crime or any offense defined in Title 18.2, and

1. Is acquitted, or

2. A nolle prosequi is taken or the charge is otherwise dismissed, including dismissal by accord and satisfaction pursuant to § 19.2-151, he may file a petition setting forth the relevant facts and requesting expungement of the police records and the court records relating to the charge.

B. If any person whose name or other identification has been used without his consent or authorization by another person who has been charged or arrested using such name or identification, he may file a petition with the court disposing of the charge for relief pursuant to this section. Such person shall not be required to pay any fees for the filing of a petition under this subsection. A petition filed under this subsection shall include one complete set of the petitioner's fingerprints obtained from a law-enforcement agency.

C. The petition with a copy of the warrant or indictment if reasonably available shall be filed in the circuit court of the county or city in which the case was disposed of by acquittal or being otherwise dismissed and shall contain, except where not reasonably available, the date of arrest and the name of the arresting agency. Where this information is not reasonably available, the petition shall state the reason for such unavailability. The petition shall further state the specific criminal charge to be expunged, the date of final disposition of the charge as set forth in the petition, the petitioner's date of birth, and the full name used by the petitioner at the time of arrest.

D. A copy of the petition shall be served on the attorney for the Commonwealth of the city or county in which the petition is filed. The attorney for the Commonwealth may file an objection or answer to the petition within 21 days after it is served on him.

E. The petitioner shall obtain from a law-enforcement agency one complete set of the petitioner's fingerprints and shall provide that agency with a copy of the petition for expungement. The law-enforcement agency shall submit the set of fingerprints to the Central Criminal Records Exchange (CCRE) with a copy of the petition for expungement attached. The CCRE shall forward under seal to the court a copy of the petitioner's criminal history, a copy of the source documents that resulted in the CCRE entry that the petitioner wishes to expunge, and the set of fingerprints. Upon completion of the hearing, the court shall return the fingerprint card to the petitioner.

F. After receiving the criminal history record information from the CCRE, the court shall conduct a hearing on the petition. If the court finds that the continued existence and possible dissemination of information relating to the arrest of the petitioner causes or may cause circumstances which constitute a manifest injustice to the petitioner, it shall enter an order requiring the expungement of the police and court records, including electronic records, relating to the charge. Otherwise, it shall deny the petition. However, if the petitioner has no prior criminal record and the arrest was for a misdemeanor violation, the petitioner shall be entitled, in the absence of good cause shown to the contrary by the Commonwealth, to expungement of the police and court records relating to the charge, and the court shall enter an order of expungement.

G. The Commonwealth shall be made party defendant to the proceeding. Any party aggrieved by the decision of the court may appeal, as provided by law in civil cases.

H. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, when the charge is dismissed because the court finds that the person arrested or charged is not the person named in the summons, warrant, indictment or presentment, the court dismissing the charge shall, upon motion of the person improperly arrested or charged, enter an order requiring expungement of the police and court records relating to the charge. Such order shall contain a statement that the dismissal and expungement are ordered pursuant to this subsection and shall be accompanied by the complete set of the petitioner's fingerprints filed with his petition. Upon the entry of such order, it shall be treated as provided in subsection K hereof.

I. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, when a person has been granted an absolute pardon for the commission of a crime that he did not commit, he may file in the circuit court of the county or city in which the conviction occurred a petition setting forth the relevant facts and requesting expungement of the police records and the court records relating to the charge and conviction, and the court shall enter an order requiring expungement of the police and court records relating to the charge and conviction. Such order shall contain a statement that the expungement is ordered pursuant to this subsection. Upon the entry of such order, it shall be treated as provided in subsection K hereof.

J. Upon receiving a copy of a writ vacating a conviction pursuant to § 19.2-327.5 or 19.2-327.13, the court shall enter an order requiring expungement of the police and court records relating to the charge and conviction. Such order shall contain a statement that the expungement is ordered pursuant to this subsection. Upon the entry of the order, it shall be treated as provided in subsection K hereof.

K. Upon the entry of an order of expungement, the clerk of the court shall cause a copy of such order to be forwarded to the Department of State Police, which shall, pursuant to rules and regulations adopted pursuant to § 9.1-134, direct the manner by which the appropriate expungement or removal of such records shall be effected.

L. Costs shall be as provided by § 17.1-275, but shall not be recoverable against the Commonwealth.

M. Any order entered where (i) the court or parties failed to strictly comply with the procedures set forth in this section or (ii) the court enters an order of expungement contrary to law, shall be voidable upon motion and notice made within three years of the entry of such order.

Appeals

- I was found guilty in Circuit Court of a Felony or Misdemeanor. Can I appeal?
- Do I get a new trial?
- Can I get an Appeal Bond
- How much are attorney's fees?
- I was found guilty in Criminal, Traffic, or Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Can I appeal?
- Can I be tried by a Jury on an Appeal to the Circuit Court?
- Will I get a better result?
- Can I get a Plea Bargain?

Q: I was found guilty in Circuit Court of a Felony or Misdemeanor. Can I appeal?

A: Yes. There are strict time limits. The appeal must be noted in writing.

Q: Do I get a new trial?

A: The Virginia Court of Appeals and Supreme Court reviews the record of your case for legal errors. If your conviction is reversed, a new trial may be ordered.

Q: Can I get an Appeal Bond?

A: The Circuit Court may allow you to be released on an Appeal Bond. If your conviction is affirmed (upheld) , you will have to serve the original sentence.

Q: How much are attorney's fees?

A: They are set on a case - by - case basis. You also must pay for trial transcripts (usually $500 - $2,000) depending on length. There will be "printing" costs if an appeal is granted (estimate $500-$3,000). A $500 cost bond needs to be paid to the Clerk of Circuit Court if the Court of Appeals agrees to hear your case. The cost bond must be paid in full to the court.

Q: I was found guilty in Criminal, Traffic, or Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Can I appeal?

A: Yes. You have an automatic appeal to Circuit Court. The appeal must be noted within ten calendar days of conviction. If the deadline falls on a weekend or a holiday, the deadline is extended to the next business day. The appeal must be filed at the Clerk's Office of the Court where you were convicted. You do not have to give a reason.

Q: Can I be tried by a Jury on a Appeal to the Circuit Court?

A: Yes. If the jury finds you guilty, they will recommend a sentence after additional evidence, including your record of convictions, if any, and/or your DMV record in traffic cases. The jury cannot suspend any part of your sentence or grant probation.

Q: Will I get a better result?

A: Maybe. It's a new trial. You could be found not guilty. You could get a lower sentence, a higher sentence, or the same. There are additional court costs if you are found guilty.

Q: Can I get a Plea Bargain?

A: The Commonwealth Attorney prosecutes Circuit Court appeals. There may be a plea agreement offered, but you have no right to one.

Our Attorneys have served as counsel of record in these Published Opinions from Virginia Appellate Courts:

Barrett R. Richardson:

  • Booker vs. Commonwealth, 61 Va. App. 323, 7345E. 2d 729 (2012)
  • Harris vs. Commonwealth 262 Va. App. 407, 551 S.E. 2d 606 (2001)
  • Harris vs. Commonwealth, 33 Va. App. 325, 533 S.E. 2d 18 (2000)
  • Lee vs. Commonwealth 18 Va. App. 235, 443 S.E. 2d 180 (1994)

Michael Rosenberg:

  • Gooch vs. Harris 52 Va. App. 157, 662 S.E. 2d 95 (2008)
  • McCray vs. Commonwealth 37 Va. App. 202, 556 S.E. 2d 50 (2001)
  • Jones vs. Commonwealth 28 Va. App. 444, 506 S.E. 2d 27 (1998)
  • Kuzminski vs. Commonwealth 8 Va. App. 106, 378 S.E. 2d 632 (1989)

Michael Eberhardt:

  • Harris vs. Commonwealth 21 Va. App. 347, 464 S.E. 2d 516 (1995)
  • Kuzminiski vs. Commonwealth 8 Va. App. 106, 378 S.E. 2d 632 (1989)
  • (represented Commonwealth)

As of January 18, 2011, our attorneys have served as counsel of record in 26 cases decided by Unpublished Order of the Supreme Court of Virginia or Unpublished Opinion of the Virginia Court of Appeals

We can help you with appeals

Personal Injury

Q: I got injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver and now am in constant pain and can't work. Do I have a legal case?

A: Personal injury cases need the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney. Each case must have very complete documentation of the injury and other damages you have suffered. If you call Richardson and Rosenberg, an attorney will meet with you for an initial consultation at no cost to determine what sort of claim could be filed on your behalf. Lost wages and future loss of wages is only one of the possible types of compensation that could be sought.

Q: I was injured in an accident. Can I recover money for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering?

A: Three things must be proven for this to happen -

1. Negligence means they did not use proper care.

2. Their negligence was a proximate cause of the accident.

3. Damages must be proven.

Q: What is the "one percent rule"?

A: Virginia is one of only a few states that have the law of Contributory Negligence. If you are even one percent at fault, you may be barred from recovery.

Q: Will I have to go to Court?

A: Every effort is made to settle your case. In fact, the majority of cases do settle. However, insurance companies are much more likely not to offer fair settlements than in the past. We treat every case as if it will go to trial. The insurance companies know we will go to Court for our clients.

Q: The person who injured me had no automobile liability insurance. What effect does that have on my case?

A: If you and / or the owner of the vehicle you were traveling in has insurance, the "Uninsured Motorist" coverage allows you to make a claim. This "Uninsured Motorist" coverage also may provide protection if a "hit and run" driver is involved.

Q: The insurance adjuster told me that they did not have to pay my claim because the other driver did not get a ticket. Is that true?

A: No. that is not true. Simple as can be. The issuance of tickets to anyone cannot be mentioned in Court unless the person pleads guilty. The facts of the accident determine the case's outcome, not the ticket. Do not let the adjuster fool you.

Q: If my health insurance and / or medical payment insurance pay my medical bills, can I still make a claim?

A: Yes. You can and should. Most health insurance plans do not require you to re-pay them if you recover. Many major employers health plans (example - Federal BC/BS, Northrup Grumman, Smithfield, Mail Handlers) do. We are experienced in these issues.

Q: The driver who caused the accident was drunk. Does that affect the claim?

A: Depending on the facts, a drunken driver may be subject to additional damages. We know how to prove these cases.

Q: What is my claim worth?

A: Just like people and snowflakes, every case is different. Beware of anyone who makes you promises of a particular recovery. We will keep you updated about your case.

COURTS

Portsmouth General District Court Traffic Division
711 Crawford Parkway
P.O. Box 1217
Portsmouth, VA 23705-0129
Phone number: 757.393.8506

Chesapeake General District Court Traffic Division
307 Albemarle Dr.
Chesapeake, VA 23322-5571
Phone number: 757.382.3119

Suffolk General District Court
Traffic Division
150 North Main Street
Second Floor
Suffolk, VA 23434
Phone number: 757.514.4822

Southampton General and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
22350 Main Street
Courtland, VA 23434
Phone number: 757.653.2673

Isle of Wight General District Court
17000 Josiah Parker Circle
Isle of Wight, VA 23397
Phone number: 757.365.6244

Contact a Suffolk/Portsmouth Attorney from the Law Offices of Richardson and Rosenberg, LLC, when you seek legal representation in your personal injury, social security, criminal defense or traffic defense case. Serving individuals in the Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Isle of Wight and Southampton County areas.