If you are facing criminal charges in Mecklenburg County, you may still be in a state of shock. Sometimes, people in Mecklenburg County regularly commit acts that break the law without being aware of it until the moment they are charged. Or everyday circumstances may have spiraled out of control and led to an arrest.
When the offense appears to be minor, you may wonder whether you need a Mecklenburg County criminal lawyer. Ultimately, that is a decision only you can make, but information from an experienced criminal defense attorney could enable you to make the best decision.
Regardless of the severity of the offense, it is essential to understand the potential ramifications of the charge and your options for defense. A consultation with a knowledgeable criminal lawyer could help you understand how you can move forward toward a positive outcome in your case.
For several reasons, it is wise to take prompt action to secure legal advice and counsel after an arrest, or even before that if an investigation is pending or an arrest is anticipated. Individuals in Mecklenburg County may unwittingly take actions or make statements that harm their defense. Guidance from an experienced Mecklenburg County criminal lawyer could prevent damaging mistakes.
In addition, the sooner a defense attorney begins working on a case, the sooner the attorney may start to collect and preserve important evidence. The quality and availability of evidence often rapidly deteriorates with time.
For instance, the scene of an incident leading to charges may change, or video footage depicting an episode may be erased or recorded over. Witnesses may become more difficult to locate, and their memory may be less reliable. Prompt action could preserve evidence for use in negotiations or at trial.
Questions naturally arise about criminal penalties whenever someone is accused of a crime. State statutes frequently describe the classification of an offense, and then Va. Code §§18.2-10 and 18.2-11 lists the range of penalties for each class of crime. As an illustration, possession with intent to distribute half an ounce of marijuana is treated as a Class 1 misdemeanor, meaning that those convicted could be sentenced to up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
In other situations, the statute itself specifies the penalties. Grand larceny, for example, is defined in Va. Code 18.2-95 and this statute specifies that those convicted may be sentenced to between 1-20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,500.
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In addition to the potential for imprisonment and a hefty fine, a criminal conviction creates a criminal record which may result in even more difficulties in the long run. Information about convictions and even arrests are easily visible to anyone searching online. This information could cause problems with employment, housing, and even relationships.
A knowledgeable Mecklenburg County criminal lawyer could work to minimize the damage to your record and reputation as you fight to defend against the charges. For a consultation to learn more about how a defense attorney could help in your particular situation, call now.