What happens if I am charged with a crime after I turn 18?

First, always remember that you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. For all criminal offenses after your 18th birthday, you will be tried as an adult, and a record of conviction will be maintained by the commonwealth and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Your criminal record is permanent and may have a negative impact on many aspects of your …

What happens if I am arrested?

Remember, you first demand to speak to an attorney. Defendants arrested on warrants are taken before a magistrate. The magistrate decides whether to set bond (secured or unsecured by money or collateral) or to send you to jail without a bond. You can and should then request a bond hearing before the court. A person who is issued a summons …

What does it mean to be released on bail?

When a magistrate sets a bond (bail), certain factors are considered. Does the defendant’s liberty constitute an unreasonable danger to himself or the public? Is the defendant likely to return for the next court appearance? What is the defendant’s criminal history? Those are just a few of the factors that play into the amount and type of bond that the …

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

A felony is a major crime punishable by possible imprisonment in excess of one year. In Virginia state courts, felonies are classified from Class 1 to Class 6 for the purpose of punishment and sentencing. Punishment varies according to the classification and the severity of the crime. The authorized punishment for a Class 6 felony is a term of imprisonment …

Can a juvenile delinquency adjudication of “not innocent” of a felony charge be used against me after I become an adult?

There often are consequences that come from a past juvenile record. For example, the juvenile delinquency adjudication of “not innocent” of a felony charge can continue to prohibit you from owning or possessing a firearm and, if you violate this prohibition, you could be at risk of conviction of various adult felony charges resulting in a mandatory minimum prison sentence. …

What if I cannot afford to hire a lawyer?

If you are charged with a traffic and/or criminal offense, even if the charge does not call for jail time, you should always seek the advice of an attorney. If the court determines you cannot afford to hire a lawyer as determined by state guidelines, and if you are charged with an offense punishable by jail or prison time, then …

What is “sexting,” and can I really get into trouble?

“Sexting” is very serious. It is basically the electronic transmission of videographic information or an image of a nonconsenting person who is nude or undressed so as to expose the genitals, buttocks, pubic area, or female breasts of that person. In Virginia, sexting may even be considered the distribution of child pornography if the image includes a person under the …

What if I just send or show sexual cartoons, animations, or images?

Anyone over the age of 18 who displays child pornography or a grooming video or materials to a child under 13 years of age with the intent to entice, solicit, or encourage the child to engage in the fondling of the sexual or genital parts of another or the fondling of his sexual or genital parts by another, sexual intercourse, …

Are phone pranks illegal?

Yes. If you cause another phone to ring or signal just to annoy the owner and if you allow someone to do so with a phone under your control, you can be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent offense can be a Class 2 misdemeanor. Further, if you annoy, harass, hinder, or delay emergency personnel in …