Respected Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorneys Representing Clients in All Types of Criminal Cases
After an arrest, you may fear that you cannot successfully fight the government and will likely be convicted—whether you’re guilty or not. However, there is a long road between arrest and conviction. And an experienced Fairfax criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you avoid the most serious consequences of a conviction.
Better yet, they may help you avoid conviction altogether. At the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone, we’ve been helping good people get out of bad situations since 1995. We have decades of combined experience helping clients get out from under serious criminal charges and look forward to seeing how we can help you.
What Is at Stake in a Criminal Case?
Some charges are more serious than others, but almost all crimes in Virginia carry the potential for jail time. That is usually the most feared consequence of a criminal conviction. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are collateral consequences of a conviction that many people do not know about.
For example, after a conviction, it may be harder to get a job, get into school, or legally purchase a gun. You may also need to pay steep fines and court costs, report to a probation officer, or lose your driving privileges.
There are other worries you might have after a criminal conviction as well. Anyone convicted of a felony may lose the right to vote. Also, any person who is not a U.S. citizen is subject to exclusion from the United States, may be denied naturalization, or denied re-entry into the country after a criminal conviction. Even if you are in the country lawfully, the government can deport you after a conviction if you are not a U.S. citizen.
Types of Fairfax Criminal Cases We Handle
At the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone, our Fairfax criminal defense attorneys handle a wide range of cases on behalf of our clients. Some of the cases we handle most frequently include the following.
In many cases, a single traffic ticket is no big deal. However, if you have several tickets, fail to pay a ticket, or were arrested for a serious traffic infraction, your license may be on the line. At the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone, we help clients keep or get their licenses back after receiving multiple or serious traffic tickets.
Virginia law makes it illegal to possess, manufacture, sell, give away, or distribute controlled substances. When determining whether you possessed a substance with the intent to sell, courts look to the surrounding circumstances. For example, the amount of drugs, how they were packaged, and whether you had any drug-selling paraphernalia can all be used to show you intended to sell the drugs you possessed.
DUI and DWI Offenses
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious crime in Fairfax, and local prosecutors aggressively pursue DUI and DWI convictions. However, despite the seriousness of these cases, there are certain defenses that apply in many cases. For example, even if a breathalyzer registered your blood alcohol content above the legal limit, you may be able to challenge the admissibility of the results.
Virginia’s reckless driving statute makes it illegal to operate a vehicle “recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.” Reckless driving in Virginia is a crime that carries the potential for jail time. For example, even a first-time conviction for reckless driving carries up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. In addition, you will lose your license for up to six months, and your insurance rates will almost certainly increase.
The government brings DUI manslaughter charges when someone is killed as the result of a DUI accident. Needless to say, these are some of the most serious DUI cases. Depending on the specific allegations, a conviction for DUI manslaughter can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, with a mandatory sentence of at least one year in prison.
What Are My Rights If I’ve Been Arrested for a Criminal Charge I Didn’t Commit?
The law in Virginia and the U.S. grants you certain inalienable rights when you face criminal charges. You have the right to:
- Have an attorney to represent you—if you cannot afford the attorney of your own choosing, you can ask the court to appoint one;
- Remain silent and not answer questions (except routine booking questions);
- Experience no negative consequences if you invoke your right to remain silent—in other words, the government cannot use your choice to remain silent against you;
- Ask for a lawyer before or during police questioning;
- Stop questioning once it begins;
- Have a public trial;
- Confront and cross-examine your accusers;
- Know the evidence the government has against you;
- Summons witnesses to testify on your behalf;
- Enjoy the presumption of innocence;
- Force the government to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; and
- Contest the actions taken by police if they violated your rights.
These constitutional protections are not idle theories for law students to argue over. They are real and observed every day in court. Our Fairfax County defense attorney works hard every day to ensure that our clients receive the protections our country’s laws give them.
How Long Will My DUI Conviction Stay on My Record?
Two important issues arise from this question. The first issue concerns facing charges for multiple DUI convictions. Virginia law allows prosecutors to charge you with a subsequent offense if you’ve been convicted within a 10-year timeframe before your most recent charge. So, if you have more than 10 years between DUI arrests, the prosecutor cannot charge you as a multiple DUI offender. Remember that your DUI remains on your driving history for several years as well.
This question’s second issue relates to whether you can seal your DUI conviction. Sealing a DUI conviction is very difficult. The only way to ensure that a DUI conviction cannot negatively impact your future is to avoid a conviction. With the help of a highly experienced criminal defense lawyer, you have the best chance to prevent the lasting effects of a DUI conviction.
Why Is Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Pignone the Right Lawyer for Me?
Deciding who you want as your lawyer can be challenging. You have a lot riding on the answer, so you should choose wisely. People who have never been in trouble with the law, like someone who faces prosecution for a first-offense DUI, may not know where to turn for help.
Our Fairfax criminal attorney Michael Pignone has nearly 30 years of experience fighting for justice, and he treats every case as if it were his only one. Over the past 30 years, he has developed a good working relationship with prosecutors, judges, and court personnel. He’s well-respected and trusted in Fairfax County as in other Virginia courts. However, you shouldn’t mistake congeniality for acquiescence.
Attorney Pignone knows that his solid working relationships can often help his clients. But, he also understands when he needs to fight to protect his client. His job is not to make friends — it is to represent you the best way he can. The ability to do both separates him from other criminal defense lawyers.
Experience Plus Dedication Equals Positive Results
With over 5,000 satisfied clients in his nearly 30-year career, Fairfax Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Pignone is someone you can rely on to give you the best chance to put your criminal charges behind you. He has handled a wide variety of cases, from first-degree murder to traffic offenses. Given his tremendous amount of criminal defense experience, there is a good chance that he’s handled a case very similar to yours.
Contact our Experienced Fairfax Criminal Defense Lawyers for Immediate Assistance
If you face criminal charges, the thought of defending against them may be overwhelming. However, this is not a journey you need to take alone. At the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone, we regularly represent clients facing serious crimes.
We have handled over 1,000 cases in Fairfax and throughout Virginia and know what it takes to successfully defend against even the most serious crimes. To learn more, and to schedule, a free consultation with a Fairfax criminal defense attorney, give us a call today. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.