Virginia Criminal Charges + Sentencing, Hearings & Statute of Limitations

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Have you been charged with any type of federal crime in the Commonwealth of Virginia? If so, you will be prosecuted in one of the federal districts in the state. Whatever your federal charge, the federal government must inform you quickly of the charges against you.

In all likelihood, you will be held in federal custody until you have your preliminary hearing.

About the Preliminary Hearing

In Virginia, you have to have your federal preliminary hearing within three days of being arrested. In some cases, your lawyer may opt to request an extension from the federal court so they can have additional time to construct your defense.

At the hearing, you and your attorney will first be able to challenge evidence. But note that the burden of proof is low in this hearing. Probable cause is all they must show, and witnesses can testify against you. Usually, the government has the evidence it requires to hold you.

However, the preliminary hearing is a good time for your lawyer to get going on discovery, to get police reports, and generally look for chinks in the armor in the case against you. Another benefit is that any testimony that witnesses give may be used against them in the trial.

About the Bond Hearing

The next step in your federal charge case in Virginia is the bond hearing. Here you request that the court release you pending the outcome of the case. Several matters will be discussed to determine if you are eligible to be released on bond. If you are a non citizen or an illegal alien, you are not likely to get bond. If there are any outstanding warrants or other legal matters, you may not get bond.

The judge will want to know if you have ties in the community and what your criminal history is. He also will need to decide if you are dangerous, which will largely depend upon the nature of the charge against you. Last, the judge will consider if there was a victim in the alleged crime.

The likelihood of getting bond will be higher if your attorney has witnesses who can testify on your behalf. They should be able to discuss positive aspects of your character. They also should know where you will live, and can assure the judge that you will live in an area free of crime. Any pending criminal matters outside this federal charge must also be resolved.

You should speak to your attorney first about any information you discuss in court about other pending criminal matters. This could affect the sentence in your federal case.

Federal Jurisdictions in Virginia

This state two federal jurisdictions: Eastern and Western. The Eastern district covers Northern VA, Hampton Roads and Richmond. The Western district covers Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg and Roanoke, among others.

Sentences for Federal Crimes in Virginia

You want to have a strong criminal attorney with you in federal court in Virginia. He or she will be able to build the best defense for you and challenge questionable evidence. Also, the lawyer can make sure you are not being overcharged by the court. This could result in your having to serve an unnecessarily long sentence.

Factors that your Virginia federal judge will consider regarding sentencing include:

  • Do you have a family and children?

  • Do you come from a tough background?

  • What is your previous criminal history?

  • Do you have any character witnesses?

  • Did you try to get drug and alcohol treatment, if you have a problem with them?

Top Virginia Crime Issues

Common federal crime issues in Virginia usually pertain to drug trafficking, immigration and white collar crime.

Statute of Limitations in Virginia

In Virginia and in all US states, there is a statute of limitations in place for many federal crimes. The purpose of the regulation is to ensure that you are not unfairly prosecuted years after the crime is alleged to have occurred. In some cases, valuable evidence that could rule you out as a suspect may have disappeared, or witnesses may have died or forgot valuable information regarding the case.

Statutes of limitations for civil and criminal violations are:

Civil Violations

  • Assault – 2 years

  • Contract – 10 years

  • False imprisonment – 2 years

  • Fraud – 5 years

  • Judgements – 20 years

  • Libel – 1 year

  • Personal injury – 2 years

  • Property damage – 5 years

  • Slander – 1 year

  • Wrongful death – 2 years

Criminal Violations

  • Arson – No limit

  • Assault – 3 years

  • Burglary – 3 years

  • Murder – no limit

  • Manslaughter – no limit

  • Rape – no limit or 3 years, depending on case

  • Kidnapping – 3 years

  • Robbery – 3 years