Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyers Defending the Rights of Clients Throughout Prince William County

Facing criminal charges in Manassas is a stressful and often overwhelming experience. Whether it’s your first arrest or you’ve been through the process before, a lot is on the line. You deserve a Manassas criminal defense lawyer who takes your case as seriously as you do. At the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone, we have helped good people get out of bad situations since 1995. Our Manassas criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience standing up for the rights of our clients regardless of the nature of the offense, their criminal record, or the evidence against them. We will fight to protect your rights and reputation. Regardless of the nature of the offense, your criminal record, or the evidence against you.

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Types of Crimes We Handle

A man arrested due to criminal charges and will look for a lawyer in Manassas to represent his case.

If you face charges related to a Manassas arrest, a skilled Manassas criminal defense lawyer can help you defend against the government’s allegations. However, no two cases are the same, and every case requires a unique approach. At the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone, we frequently represent clients charged with the following offenses.

Motor Vehicle Crimes

Allegations of motor vehicle crime are devastating. A conviction for a motor vehicle crime carries significant consequences. You can face jail time, fines, and the loss of your driver’s license. Therefore, you need to immediately consult with a Manassas criminal defense attorney if you are accused of a motor vehicle offense. We can evaluate your case and develop an aggressive defense strategy.

Virginia DUI and DWI Offenses

Prosecutors take drunk driving charges very seriously. Under Virginia law, drunk driving occurs when someone operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) greater than .08%. However, police do not necessarily need to conduct chemical testing to arrest you for drunk driving, as Virginia law breaks down drunk driving into two parts—observational and scientific.

What Is the Scientific Portion of a DWI?

The scientific portion of a DWI generally means a chemical test. Chemical tests are scientific tests that determine your BAC. Chemical tests can include breath and blood tests.

Can You Refuse to Take a Chemical Test?

Yes and no. Unfortunately, Virginia is an implied consent state. By driving a vehicle on a Virginia roadway, the law assumes that you gave consent to a post-arrest chemical test. Therefore, you can face a criminal charge if you refuse to submit to a chemical test.

In Virginia, the first refusal is a civil offense, and you may lose your driver’s license for one year.

However, the commonwealth can charge you with a misdemeanor the second time you refuse to submit to a chemical test. A second refusal can result in a three-year driver’s license suspension, 12 months in jail, and a $2,500 fine.

A Manassas criminal defense attorney can walk you through other fines and penalties and develop your criminal defense strategy.

What Is an Observational DUI?

Virginia law does not specify how the district lawyer must prove intoxication. Therefore, your DUI case begins well before a police officer stops you. Some tactics the police use is to say that they saw your vehicle weaving or drifting out of its lane. Police will also mention that they smelled alcohol on your breath or noticed that you were fumbling around when you handed them your driver’s credentials.

A crafty prosecutor will use all the details of the police officer’s observations to build their case. Therefore, prosecutors may try to prove you were intoxicated based on the surrounding circumstances. For example, were you exhibiting signs of intoxication? Was there an open container of alcohol in the car? Did you tell the officer you had a few drinks?

Thus, it is essential never to answer any incriminating questions. However, we understand that it is hard to refuse to answer a police officer’s questions in the heat of the moment.

Therefore, contact us today, even if you answered questions. We will develop your criminal defense strategy and fight to protect your rights.

What Is the Punishment For DUI/DWI?

Virginia is known for having harsh DWI penalties. For example, a DWI can range from a class one misdemeanor to a class six felony. The level of the charges depends on your BAC and history of DWIs.

A first DWI conviction is a class one misdemeanor. Upon conviction, you can face up to one-year imprisonment and a $2,500 fine. A third conviction within ten years of a prior conviction is a class six felony. If a jury convicts, you can face up to five years imprisonment and a $2,500 fine.

Furthermore, upon conviction, you forfeit the right to drive. You will lose the right to drive for one year for a first offense. A second conviction within ten years will cause a three-year revocation. A third conviction can result in an indefinite revocation of your driving privileges.

A Manassas criminal lawyer can help craft a defense strategy. We will fight to help you retain your ability to drive and keep you out of prison.

What Does Reckless Driving Mean?

The commonwealth’s reckless driving statute provides that, “irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.” Therefore, while many reckless driving arrests stem from someone driving too fast, police can also arrest you if you fail to stop for a school bus or emergency vehicle or are driving erratically.

Reckless driving in Virginia is a class one misdemeanor. However, suppose your reckless driving causes death, or you were driving without a valid license. In that case, the commonwealth can charge you with a class six felony —which carries a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment and a $2,500 fine.

What If I Leave the Scene of an Accident?

All drivers have a legal duty to stop after an accident. Leaving the scene of an accident in Virginia is a crime. Not only do you need to stop, but you also must provide your name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number to police officers or the other drivers involved in the accident.

It is a serious offense to leave the scene of an accident. If the accident caused a death or injury, the commonwealth could charge a class five felony. A conviction for a class five felony can carry up to ten years imprisonment and a $2,500 fine.

However, there are defenses. For example, you may be allowed to leave the accident scene when you are injured. A Virginia criminal defense lawyer can walk you through other potential defenses.  

Virginia Drug Charges

In 2021 the commonwealth made history when it became the first state in the south to legalize marijuana. Also, Virginia came to the forefront when it stopped suspending driver’s licenses of those with drug convictions. However, Virginia is still known for having some of the harshest drug laws in the country.

Drug offenses are one of the most common reasons people get arrested in Manassas. Under Virginia law, possessing even a small amount of drugs can result in a prison sentence. It is important for anyone facing a drug crime to reach out to a skilled Manassas criminal lawyer for immediate assistance.

With our help, you can ensure that your arrest will have as little impact on your life as possible.

Common Defenses to Virginia Crimes

Given the effects that a conviction for any Manassas crime can have on your life, it is important to review all possible defenses with an experienced Manassas criminal defense attorney. Some of the most common defenses to crimes include:

  • Challenging the admissibility of evidence through a motion to suppress; and
  • Arguing that the prosecution failed to prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

Of course, there are many specific defenses that apply only to certain cases. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone can help you understand which defenses may apply in your case and how to effectively use them.

Contact a Manassas Criminal Defense Attorney to Schedule a Free Consultation

A lawyer handling a criminal defense case in Manassas, VA.

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Manassas or elsewhere in Prince William County, reach out to the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone for immediate assistance. We take a comprehensive approach to every case we handle. We begin by conducting a thorough investigation into the allegations, attempting to identify any errors or favorable evidence that the police missed. From there, we work with you to create a compelling defense to the charges. Through our efforts, many of our clients have seen their cases withdrawn or won at trial.

Our experienced team also handles clients with other types of cases, including:

Criminal defense attorney Michael A. Pignone was raised and has lived in Prince William County since 1972. Before entering private practice, he served as a commonwealth attorney. Michael knows the area and people and will fight to protect your rights. To learn more, and to schedule, a free consultation with our Manassas criminal defense lawyers, call today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.