An Overview of Common
Criminal Charges in Virginia

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Dealing With Criminal Charges in Virginia


Breaking the law in Virginia is not a good idea and can lead to your arrest by a police officer if you get caught. Once the police officers arrest you, you could face several criminal charges depending on the nature and severity of the criminal act you are accused of.

While it is up to the prosecution to establish the truth of a charge beyond all reasonable doubt, you still need to defend yourself. You’ll likely need to rely on the skill of your criminal lawyer to help you get out of the criminal justice system in one piece.

Remember that in many cases, the fact that you’re unaware that your actions constitute a criminal offense is irrelevant as a defense. The information provided here offers some insight into common criminal offenses in Virginia to help you avoid committing them inadvertently. It can also guide you if you’re already facing such charges in Virginia and serve as a helpful resource as you prepare a suitable defense.

Examples of Common Criminal Charges in Virginia


Some of the more common criminal offenses under Virginia law include the following:

Drug Offenses

By the Virginia Code, it is an offense for anyone to manufacture, sell, distribute, or possess to sell and distribute any of the following:

  • Controlled substances such as heroin
  • Cannabis (marijuana), other than for medical purposes
  • Imitation controlled substances
  • Drug paraphernalia

Drug crimes vary in severity and could be charged as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the case.

If convicted of a misdemeanor drug offense, you could face up to 12 months of jail time and be made to pay a fine of up to $2500 or both. For felony drug crimes, you could face serious jail time, not less than five years, and be made to pay a fine of up to $100,000, depending on the circumstances.

Driving While Intoxicated

It is an offense to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Virginia. You can get arrested and charged with a DWI/DUI if police officers find that your blood alcohol concentration level is at 0.08 percent or if your driving is impaired due to the intoxicating substance you consumed.

If you’re under 21, the stakes are higher, as you can be arrested with a BAC of 0.02 percent.

The penalties for drunk or intoxicated driving include forfeiture of your driver’s license, community service, and payment of fines. You could also go to jail for some time, and the penalties become more severe if you are a repeat offender.

Remember that DWI charges and criminal convictions can stay on your record and ruin your education and employment opportunities. So if you’ve been drinking alcoholic beverages at a party or anywhere else, make alternative arrangements to get home instead of driving yourself.


Violent Crimes

Acts of violence are strictly prohibited in Virginia. You don’t have to physically hurt someone or cause bodily injury to be charged with violent crimes under the law. Making someone afraid you will harm them can also get you in trouble. So, no matter how angry or provoked you might be, try to keep your emotions in check to avoid getting in trouble with the law.

Some of the crimes that you could be charged with when you violently lose your cool include:

  • (Aggravated) malicious wounding
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Domestic violence
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter

Other than simple assault, most violent crimes are charged as felonies. If you’re facing felony charges, you could spend a minimum of one year in jail, depending on the felony class if convicted.


Property Crimes

Property crimes involve unlawful interference with another’s property by damaging or assuming ownership rights over it.

Common property crimes in Virginia include:

  • Robbery
  • Trespass to land
  • Arson
  • Theft crimes such as burglary, embezzlement, petit or grand larceny, and credit card fraud.

Property crimes may be charged as felonies or misdemeanors depending on the nature of the offense and the value of the property involved. The penalties also vary with each crime but generally include imprisonment in a state correctional facility and payment of fines.


Obstruction of Justice Offenses

It is a crime in Virginia to do anything that interferes with the administration of justice or prevents a law enforcement officer from carrying out their duty.

Such offenses include:

  • Resisting arrest
  • Perjury (telling lies in court)
  • Concealing a crime
  • Giving false reports to the police.

In addition to the usual criminal law penalties, some of these offenses have certain unique punishments for the specific crime. For instance, if you’re found guilty of perjury, apart from the punishment you’ll get for the offense as a Class 5 felony, you’ll forever be incapable of holding any public office of honor, profit, or trust in Virginia or serving as a juror.

How an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney can Help You 


Law enforcement officers have one goal; to ensure that those who do wrong are punished for their crimes. On the other hand, the goal of a criminal defense attorney is to represent their client, defend them against their criminal charges and possibly avoid a criminal conviction.

The job of criminal defense attorneys involves formulating different strategies to help their clients avoid a conviction by either getting their charges dropped, dismissed, or getting a reduced sentence. So, if you’re dealing with criminal charges in Virginia, having legal representation offers you a good chance of escaping the harsh penalties of the criminal justice system.

If the crime you’ve been accused of relates to an incident that occurred long ago, the statute of limitations (criminal) in Virginia may apply in your favor. In such cases, your attorney can use those limitation laws to invalidate the charges against you and get them dismissed.

Even if the prosecution’s evidence against you appears overwhelming, it is still a good idea to speak with an attorney. With their skill and knowledge of Virginia criminal law, your local or federal criminal lawyer can assess your case and help you devise a suitable strategy to get you off the hook.


Criminal Defense Attorneys at Scrofano Law, PC Can Help!

At our law firm, we understand that freedom is precious, and our goal is to help our clients protect that freedom, even in the face of a direct indictment, felony, or misdemeanor charges in Virginia.

Our experienced attorneys can advise and represent you as you work to prepare a strong defense for your case. We can be with you each step of the way, an unwavering ally for you to rely on as you fight the charges against you.

Our lines are open, so contact us today, and let us help you with the legal representation you need when your liberty is at stake.


We fight for your rights!

Kyla Lee

Gretchen has all the skills to get the job done - former prosecutor, serious jury trial experience, and compassion and skill for days. I would not hesitate to hire her as my lawyer.

Rebecca G

If I could give her 100 stars I would. I put my complete trust in her, and she did not let me down. Her results exceeded my expectations. You need this woman on your side if you ever find yourself in trouble.

Ruby Branscomb

10 years ago, Gretchen Taylor saved my life. I was facing a serious, felony drug charge that was based on nothing besides the text messages of a former friend and other hearsay. I was 19 at the time, uneducated and uninformed of my rights, and terrified at what was unfolding.

I secured the services of an attorney who proved to be utterly useless, barely lifted a finger for my case, and encouraged me to cooperate with FCPD to ensnare some other equally young and dumb target into similar charges.

Gretchen immediately realized that my previous attorney had never even filed a motion for discovery (so that he could see what evidence the state held against me), which baffled her.
Adding to her surprise more was that there was quite literally nothing in the discovery file — the state had no physical evidence against me and used my ignorance of the system against me, hoping to coerce a confession from me and helping them with an investigation that was very far removed from my current lifestyle.

After being in court with my old lawyer, over 3 times and having the case continued for almost 2 years, I was not expecting the outcome Gretchen Taylor was able to produce for me in our very first court date together.

She asked for the case to be dismissed against me, due to the lack of evidence she found in her motion for discovery. The judge agreed, and a nolle plead was entered; the charges were essentially dropped.

Gretchen is an honorable, ethical and kind woman who drastically altered the course of my life by simply doing her job. I would recommend her as an attorney, especially those who have cases in Fairfax County.

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