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

First, always remember that you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Evidence which can be presented in court against you not only includes physical evidence but can include testimonial evidence. You have the right not to testify in court, but that decision is best made in consultation with your lawyer. Remember that anything you say about the offense can be …

What happens if I am arrested?

Remember that you must demand to speak to an attorney and maintain your silence under the protection of Miranda. However, you will be taken before a magistrate, who decides whether or not to establish bond for you. You may have to answer certain questions the magistrate asks about your life circumstances, but you do not have to answer questions about …

What does it mean to be released on bail?

When setting bond (bail), magistrates consider whether or not the defendant’s release would constitute a danger to the defendant or to the public, as well as the likelihood that the defendant will return as directed for court appearances. Factors enabling this assessment include prior criminal history. Personal recognizance bond means a defendant is placed on bond based on the defendant’s …

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

Felonies are major crimes and misdemeanors are lesser crimes. Felonies are classified from Class 1 to Class 6 in descending order for purposes of sentencing. Online access to felony classification and punishments as specified in the Virginia Code can be found at Section 18.2-10.  Online access to misdemeanor classification and punishments as specified in the Virginia Code can be found …

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

If a juvenile court finds you are “not innocent” of a felony (juvenile delinquency disposition), you can be prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm. Violators of that condition can result in conviction of various adult felony charges resulting in mandatory minimum prison sentences. Juvenile court records can surface in adult proceedings by enhancing sentencing guidelines and other considerations in …

What if I cannot afford to hire a lawyer?

If you are charged with a traffic or criminal offense for which the penalty may include incarceration, and if your assets and income are not sufficient for the court to believe you can hire your own attorney, you can request that an attorney be appointed to represent you. Even if your offense does not carry possible incarceration as a penalty, …

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

Sexting is the electronic transmission of video information or an image of a non-consenting person who is nude or undressed so as to expose genitals, buttocks, pubic area, or female breasts. Sexting may be considered the distribution of child pornography if the image includes relevant images of an underage (under 18) person, whether consenting or not. Records of your phone/computer …

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 the child or another, sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anilingus, …

Are phone pranks illegal?

Yes. If you cause another phone to ring/signal just to annoy the owner and if you allow someone to do that with a phone which is yours, you can be found guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent offense becomes a Class 2 misdemeanor. Records of calls made between one number and another can be obtained without …