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Home  Practice Areas  Richmond Criminal Defense Lawyer

Richmond Criminal Defense Lawyer

Experienced Richmond Criminal Defense Attorney Ready To Serve You

An attorney meeting with his client and giving a handshake.

Have you been arrested for a criminal charge in the Richmond or central VA area? Is your job, freedom, or future at risk? The judicial process can be complex and intimidating. The good news is, you do NOT have to face it alone. Having an experienced Richmond criminal defense lawyer in your corner is an indispensable asset that can offer you peace of mind, mitigate the risk of a negative ruling, and reduce the time, stress, and cost of obtaining a favorable resolution in your case.

I am Richmond criminal defense attorney Standish Alexander, Esq. and I would be happy to evaluate your case and determine if the police illegally or unconstitutionally stopped, searched, questioned, or charged you. If they did, I can possibly get a reduction or outright dismissal of your charges. In addition, even if you were not illegally stopped, questioned, or searched, I may still be able to obtain a plea agreement with the Commonwealth Attorney for your charges to be reduced or eliminated. That is because there may be mitigating factors or circumstances that make the offense less egregious from the standpoint of the prosecuting lawyer.

What is the difference between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

A  felony in Virginia is any offense for which there is the potential for incarceration that is more than one year long. Misdemeanors, on the other hand, can only result in a maximum of 12 months of incarceration. The maximum fine for a misdemeanor conviction cannot exceed $2500. In addition, a conviction for a felony can result in the loss of certain constitutional rights such as the right to bear arms, the right to vote, the right to serve in the military, and the right to hold public office.

My experiences as a public defender and trial lawyer have given me insight into how prosecutors and judges approach specific cases such as yours. The sooner I hear from you better equipped I will be to negotiate for your charges to be lessened or dismissed, or, if we go to trial, to a achieve a reduction or an acquittal.

My case is completely bogus, so I don’t need a lawyer, right?

Do not be misled into believing that your case will surely be dropped because you know that it is based upon lies and/or misperceptions. Even if that is the case, very often the prosecution will proceed anyway. Not always, but often. And if this is the case, you need a skilled Richmond criminal defense lawyer even more than a person who might have actually committed a crime.

It’s important to keep in mind that prosecutors work with the police in order to apprehend and convict people accused of crimes in the commonwealth. Therefore, prosecutors are likely to believe whatever an officer says in their report or verbally. The problem is that officers can get things wrong – either intentionally or unintentionally. But a prosecutor will go forward with an officer’s testimony unless that testimony is vigorously challenged by someone. Enter an experienced Richmond criminal defense attorney who knows just how to challenge the evidence and perceptions of the officer and witnesses.

It is by challenging these witnesses that we are able to get:

  • The prosecutor to drop the charges
  • The judge to dismiss the charges
  • The judge to suppress key evidence (thereby increasing your odds of winning at trial or getting a better plea deal)
  • Get the charges lowered in severity; say from a felony to a misdemeanor
  • Get the sentence reduced

As you can see, an experienced Richmond criminal defense attorney is crucial for the success of these endeavors. So do not rely on chance or on the integrity of the prosecutor when you know your case is based on lies. Get a strong advocate in your corner to protect you.

I blew a .16 when I was arrested for DUI. I should just “take my lumps” and plead guilty, right?

Again, not necessarily. It is always in your very best interest to have a skilled criminal lawyer look at your case. If the officer overstepped any legal boundaries in their stop of your vehicle or in their investigation, we may be able to get the case dismissed. It is certainly not a given, but before you take that plea deal, talk to a professional who cares.

What are some common defenses against criminal charges?

There are hundreds of ways to defend someone against criminal charges, depending on the nature of the charges and the surrounding circumstances. Some of these defenses target the sufficiency of the evidence, others target the conduct of the police, while still others assert that the alleged criminal act was justified under the circumstances. Below are a few of the most common defenses:

  • Alibi: You could escape a conviction by proving that you were somewhere else when the crime occurred.
  • Discredited witnesses: If the evidence against you is based on witness testimony, your lawyer will likely try to discredit them so that the jury will not believe their testimony.
  • Entrapment: Entrapment occurs when a law enforcement official persuades you to commit a crime that you would not ordinarily commit, just so he can arrest you for it. This defense doesn’t work if you were already inclined to commit the crime or if law enforcement simply provided you with the opportunity to commit a crime. It is difficult to plead entrapment, for example, if you bought drugs from an undercover police officer.
  • Illegal search and seizure: If the police searched your home without a warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement and subsequently found evidence in your home, you can have the evidence excluded from your trial. If the prosecutor lacks enough additional evidence to convict you, you could be acquitted.
  • Failure to “read you your rights”: “You have the right to remain silent,” etc. If the police failed to read you your rights after arresting you, nothing you say after that, including a confession, can be used against you.
  • Self-defense or defense of others: You are entitled to use proportionate violence to repel an unprovoked physical attack against you or someone else.

Remember, under the US Constitution, you are considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. What that means in practice is that your Richmond criminal defense attorney does not have to “prove you innocent” – all he has to do is establish reasonable doubt.

I have an  A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, I have been rated as Superb by AVVO.com (10.0/10.0) and have been recognized Nationally in Rue Ratings’ Best Attorneys of America, The National Trial Lawyers Top 100, the National Advocacy for DUI Defense, L.L.C. and Lawyers of Distinction.

Get help from a trusted Richmond criminal defense lawyer today. Contact me immediately by phone, fax, or e-mail so I can hear your side of the story during your free confidential consultation.

The criminal charges I defend against include:

You do not feel have to feel helpless or powerless in the face of the government’s prosecutorial power. You have a friend and advocate in my law office. I care deeply about cases such as yours. I handle all misdemeanors and most felonies. You will get your day in court, I will personally see to it. A conviction is Not inevitable!

Expungement

I offer reliable and experienced assistance to individuals seeking an expungement. The expungement process is complicated, and you should not attempt to obtain one without first consulting an experienced lawyer. Expungements in Virginia are governed by VA Code § 19.2-393.2. The process mandates several requisite actions, including obtaining official fingerprints by the state police as well as a formal hearing in the Circuit Court. I can walk you through this process to make it as smooth and hassle-free as possible.

Expungement is the legal term for the judicial process of sealing police and court records pertaining to a given criminal matter. This does NOT mean the records are destroyed. It simply means they will no longer be publicly available and can only be accessed by official court order – such as to a law enforcement officer with a valid warrant.

Benefits of Obtaining an Expungement

Many individuals are concerned about submitting a job application when they have a lingering felony and/or misdemeanor charges still on their record. If you successfully obtain an expungement for those charges, it can make all the difference in getting hired or obtaining a security clearance for future employment purposes.

Am I Eligible for an Expungement?

If your case fits into one of the following categories, you may be a viable candidate for obtaining an expungement:

  • You pleaded “not guilty” and were subsequently acquitted by either a judge or jury.
  • You were involved in a civil action and charged with contempt of court but were found not guilty.
  • You were involved in a criminal case that the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office opted to not prosecute (also referred to as a nolle prosequi scenario) for all associated charges.
  • You were charged with assault and battery or a similar misdemeanor for which the plaintiff could have alternatively pursued as a civil action. Then the injured party submits a written statement that she/he has received satisfaction for the injury and the case has, subsequently, been dismissed.
  • Your name, likeness, or identification has been used without consent or authorization in a criminal matter – also known as identity theft.
  • You were convicted of a crime that later received an absolute pardon.

The expungement process is further complicated, based on whether you were a juvenile or adult when the offense was committed.

Juvenile Crimes and Expungement

Records of delinquent juveniles (except for felony and traffic convictions) must be destroyed after the juvenile reaches age 19, or five years after the defendant’s last Domestic Relations District Court hearing, whichever occurs later. With traffic cases, the record is destroyed the year after the defendant reaches age 29, unless he or she subsequently commits a felony after becoming an adult. The records of a proceeding where a juvenile has committed a felony are not destroyed. Lastly, if a juvenile is found not guilty of a misdemeanor offense, he or she may ask in writing for the early destruction of the records.

Adult Crimes and Expungement

A man arrested and handcuffed for a crime he committed in Richmond.

Under VA Code Section 19.2-392.2 (A) only in very limited circumstances can the police and court records of an adult accused of a criminal offense be expunged. If the accused pled not guilty and was found not guilty by the court and the court did not make a factual finding of sufficient evidence, records of that proceeding can be expunged. Additionally, if the case is dismissed on motion of the commonwealth attorney by a nolle prosecqui or a motion for dismissal and, again, there is no factual finding of sufficient evidence by the tribunal, those records can also be expunged. With the expungement of a criminal charge all records of that charge, including electronic records, are destroyed.

Contact Standish Alexander Today

If you have been arrested or are being investigated for a criminal offense, or if you need a prior charge expunged, you need experienced, effective, and results-oriented legal assistance. Contact our Richmond criminal defense lawyer today for a free initial consultation. Call right now: 804-355-0016 . You can also fax or e-mail me at [email protected]. I return most calls or e-mails within 24 hours.