Criminal Defense FAQs


Shin Law Office’s Criminal Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions

When you are arrested for a crime, there is, undoubtedly, a lot of unknowns. It is important you make informed decisions throughout the process and should find an attorney who not only knows the law, but has your best interests at heart.

Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions when it comes to criminal defense.

If you have additional questions, schedule your no-cost consultation with a Northern Virginia Criminal Attorney at Shin Law Office as soon as possible.

We are here to help.

Q: What should I do if I am arrested?

The first thing you should do is not say a word! Anything you do or say can be (and usually will be) used against you in court. Do not be afraid about “how you will look” if you choose not to speak to law enforcement. If they were there to help you, they would not be arresting you.

Q: What are my rights?

Every person has rights under the United States Constitution. However, the rights that you are afforded vary from one criminal charge to the next. For example, you do have a right to refuse on a roadside breathalyzer; however, you do not have a right to refuse a breathalyzer at a police station (or else you will be charged with Refusal under Virginia Code 18.2-268.3).

Q: What is the role of a prosecutor?

The role of the prosecutor is to determine if there is enough evidence to support a conviction for a criminal charge. Believe it or not, he or she should be unbiased and make sure your rights are preserved throughout the criminal process.

Q: Why do I need an attorney if I am innocent?

Ever heard the saying, “life isn’t fair?” Well, this phrase definitely rings true in criminal defense work.

You need an attorney, even though you are innocent, because often times individuals are simply at the wrong place at the wrong time around the wrong people. Although you know you are innocent, the circumstances may not always reflect that.

Q: What is bail?

Although this may seem simple, bail is definitely a lot more complicated than what most people think.

Read more on my insights in this piece, ‘Bail, Bond or Both? Things to Know before Filing Your Motion’

Q: What is a bail bondsmen?

A bail bondsmen is an individual who posts your bail/bond.

Whatever amount your bail/bond is set to, you are generally required to post (i.e. pay) 10% of that amount to be released from jail.

If you do not have 10% of the bail/bond, then the bondsmen will pay it for you on the condition you appear at all your court hearings.

Q: What is the difference between a misdemeanor, a felony and an infraction?

The first difference is the severity of each in the eyes of the law.

The order of most serious to less serious is felony, misdemeanors then infractions.

Felonies are offenses with possible jail sentences of more than 1 year.

Misdemeanors are offenses with a possible jail sentence not to exceed 1 year.

Infractions are offenses that do not carry and possible jail sentence.

Q: Do both misdemeanors and felonies show up on my record? And if convicted, how long does a criminal offense stay on my record?

Convictions show up on your record, so, yes, any misdemeanor or felony conviction will show up.

In Virginia, barring any exception, the convictions are permanent and cannot be expunged (removed from your record).

If you would like to see if there is a possibility of a conviction being expunged, set up a no-cost consultation with us. We would be happy to look at it for you.

Q: I am here illegally and committed a crime. Can I be deported?

Yes, there is a possibility of being deported if you are here illegally.

Being put in jail, for any amount of time, can trigger ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to come pick you up and begin proceedings.(if they are notified).

Q: What happens if I make a false statement to police?

You could be charged with additional criminal charges including, but not limited to, filing a false police report, perjury, obstruction of justice, etc.

Q: What is the 3 strikes law?

This is a law that increases penalties for certain offenses repeatedly committed by an individual who has prior convictions of that particular offense. Common examples are penalties for a DUI 1st, DUI 2nd and DUI 3rd.

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