Fairfax Misdemeanor Lawyer

Misdemeanor Lawyer Fairfax VA

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Being charged with a misdemeanor is a confusing, frustrating, and sometimes overwhelming experience – unless you have a misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax, Virginia, on your side. Misdemeanors in Virginia can vary from very serious crimes to relatively minor slip-ups: While people know felonies are major and infractions are minor, misdemeanors take up a pretty expansive middle ground.

Despite the wide variety of crimes that qualify as a misdemeanor in our state, none of them are punishable by more than 12 months in jail and fines higher than $2500. However, Virginia also classifies misdemeanors across 4 different classes, so it’s important to understand where your case falls when compared to other misdemeanors.


Table Of Contents:


Fairfax Misdemeanor Classes

Read on to learn a little more about the different classes of misdemeanors in Virginia, and see how a lawyer from May Law, LLP can help your case.

  • Class 1: Class 1 misdemeanors are the most serious. These are punishable by up to 12 months in jail and $2500 in fines. Virginia has a long list of Class 1 misdemeanors which includes domestic violence, petit larceny, and DUIs. If you’re facing a Class 1 misdemeanor, contact a misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax, VA as soon as possible.
  • Class 2: Class 2 misdemeanors are less serious than Class 1s, but they can still carry hefty punishments. You could have to spend up to six months in jail, and/or pay a fine of up to $1000. Some examples of Class 2 misdemeanors include driving without a license or violating a custody or court order for the second time.
  • Class 3: Fortunately, Class 3 misdemeanors in Virginia don’t mean jail time. They do, however, mean a fine of up to $500. While it’s comparatively little when you’re considering how much you might be fined for a Class 2 or Class 1 misdemeanor, it’s still a sizeable amount of money to pay for a crime such as driving without car insurance or having reflective window tint on your vehicle.
  • Class 4: Class 4 misdemeanors are punishable by up to $250 in fees. These are the least major misdemeanors in Virginia, and the list includes many first offenses, such as the first instance of public intoxication. While a Class 4 misdemeanor might seem more like an inconvenience, it’ll still stay on your record – so you might want to contact a lawyer just in case.

4 Myths About Misdemeanor Cases

Compared to felonies, misdemeanor charges tend to result in shorter sentences and small fines. As a result, many mistakenly take misdemeanors less seriously. However, misdemeanor cases can have a lasting impact on defendants’ lives. Here are four common myths about misdemeanors that you should understand.


1. Myth: You Won’t Face Jail Time

While many misdemeanor cases result in fines rather than jail time, some defendants could face up to a year of incarceration, depending on the circumstances. For example, if you have a previous criminal record, you might be more likely to receive jail time as part of your sentencing. Spending even a short time in jail could seriously disrupt your personal life and livelihood. A misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax, VA, can help defend your case and fight for a just outcome.


2. Myth: Future Employers Won’t Know

People with felony records often have trouble finding employment, and some erroneously assume that this stigma does not apply to people charged with misdemeanors. Unfortunately, some employers may be less likely to hire or work with you based on your record. Having a misdemeanor in your past can give the impression that you are less trustworthy or reliable. An attorney from May Law can help determine the possible outcomes for your case and represent your interests as a defendant.


3. Myth: You Don’t Need a Lawyer

You may think that hiring representation is unnecessary for a misdemeanor case; however, navigating the criminal justice system is difficult if you are not a lawyer. Defense lawyers understand the nuances of the law and can help you communicate with law enforcement and court officials. Furthermore, a misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax, VA, can seek a less punitive outcome, possibly resulting in fewer fines or less time in jail. This can have a major impact on your finances and ability to earn a living. Not hiring an attorney might cost you more than you realize.


4. Myth: No Long-Term Consequences

Even if your misdemeanor charge results in nothing more than a minor fine, it can still appear on your criminal record. This means background checks can reveal the fact that you were sentenced with a misdemeanor. In most cases, these charges do not disappear from your record. For this reason, it’s crucial to speak with a misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax, VA, early in the process to determine the best way to handle your case. An attorney from May Law can review your case and provide consultation on how to proceed.

Fairfax Misdemeanor Infographic



3 Facts About Misdemeanors

If you are like most people, you may think that being convicted of a misdemeanor crime doesn’t matter a lot. Many downplay the seriousness of a misdemeanor crime and how it can still affect your life and future. In general, the impact the conviction has on your life depends on the crime you’ve been accused of. Regardless of the crime, do not let the myths stop you from hiring a misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax VA.


Misdemeanors Do Not Result in Jail Time

While there are some misdemeanors with minor penalties, it doesn’t mean that you cannot go to jail. While several misdemeanors won’t leave you in jail, some are punishable for up to one year. The nature of your offense and your criminal record will play into your sentencing most of the time. Do not shrug off a misdemeanor charge because you think it will result in a heavy penalty.


Misdemeanors Do Not Show Up on Your Record

Some may tell you that your misdemeanors do not appear on your background check. However, it does not matter if you have a misdemeanor or felony, all convictions show up on your record. Even if you faced a misdemeanor charged with a small fine for the sentence, it is still on your record and will remain there. It remains on your background checks forever when you are convicted of a misdemeanor. If you do not have a misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax VA, you may face a conviction and permanent record without any hope of being cleared of the charges.


Employers Do Not Care About Misdemeanors

After being convicted of a crime, one of the most challenging things to do is the job hunt. When you think of employers refusing to hire those with a criminal record, you may automatically think of felony records. While it is true that felonies are regarded more seriously and seriously impact employment prospects, misdemeanors have an effect too. Depending on the nature of the charge, an employer may look at your record and have concerns about your character.


When it comes to any criminal charges, do not buy into the idea that the charges don’t matter. Instead, you should set up a consultation with a misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax VA, as soon as possible. An attorney can help you fight against the charges and help you understand the type of consequences you are up against. With a lawyer, you are more likely to successfully defend yourself.


Public Intoxication in Virginia

If you might be facing a criminal misdemeanor, it is important that you contact a misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax, VA at May Law, LLP right away! It may seem obvious that a person cannot be charged with public intoxication while inside their own homes, but what about outside? What can happen if you are intoxicated on your own outdoor property, such as a front porch?

What is Considered a Public Place

Our legal team is aware that in Virginia a “public” place is defined as, “any place, building, or conveyance to which the public has, or is permitted to have access.”  See Virginia Code § 4.1-100. However, the courts have expanded the functional definition of “public” to refer to any outdoor place that is visible to others, even if it is on your own private property. This means that you can be charged with public intoxication for simply standing on the front steps of your own home while under the influence of alcohol.

While there have been court rulings in other states related to excessive alcohol consumption on one’s own front steps or porch, Virginia courts have not so limited the scope of what constitutes “public” space. A Fairfax, misdemeanor lawyer in VA has seen these kinds of circumstances before, and will know how to advise you if you find yourself in this kind of situation. Sometimes what constitutes “private property” in a public intoxication case can be confusing.

Knowing that you can be arrested for public intoxication in Virginia while on your own property, it is important to consider steps you can take to avoid an unnecessary misdemeanor charge.  First and foremost, do not become intoxicated! Then you do not have to worry if you are in a public or private space. However, sometimes circumstances are such that a person will consume one too many drinks, and having a member of our legal team on your side is important when this occurs.

The situation is not uncommon: a citizen is throwing a party at a private residence that involves alcohol consumption. Perhaps the music is loud, or the guests are a bit rowdy, and a neighbor calls the police. When law enforcement arrives, they may ask you to step outside so they can talk to you. However, keep in mind that if you are drunk, stepping outside is all an officer will need to arrest and charge you with public intoxication. You could end up being charged simply for complying with an officer’s request. If this happens to you, call a misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax at May Law, LLP to protect your rights and help you explore potential options moving forward.

How Intoxication is Defined

Virginia law defines “intoxication” as having consumed enough alcohol that it changes your “manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, general appearance or behavior.”  See Virginia Code § 4.1-100. While many point to the .08 blood alcohol content standard that is commonly known, the police do not have to give you a breath or blood test to charge you with public intoxication.  Instead, they can charge you based on their observations of your behavior. We understand what burden a prosecutor will have to meet to prove you were intoxicated and use that knowledge to help defend your case.

Public intoxication is a Class 4 misdemeanor that can come with an up-to $250 fine.  We know that there is no jail time associated with a Class 4 misdemeanor. To be sure, the police may handcuff you and take you to a holding area, or a specified detox center, for a few hours while you sober up. But there is generally no risk of jail time as part of a criminal sentence.  Because of this, many people may think it is unnecessary to hire an attorney if facing a drunk in public charge. This is not accurate and if you are charged with public intoxication you should hire a misdemeanor lawyer in VA immediately.

For example, although the punishment may not be very severe relative to other charges, it is still a criminal offense that will be put on your permanent record. This can impact job prospects, school admission, security clearances, and other aspect of your future.  This is why we always recommend contacting our team, no matter how small the charge may seem.

Fairfax Misdemeanor Law Statistics

The Fairfax County Police Department reported that misdemeanors accounted for approximately 40% of all criminal offenses in Fairfax County.

Common types of misdemeanors in Fairfax County include traffic offenses, drug offenses, and petty theft. The penalties for misdemeanors in Virginia can include fines, probation, community service, and even jail time. However, the specific penalties for a particular misdemeanor offense may vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the judge’s discretion.

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Underage DUIs – The Basics

Unless special circumstances apply, most adult motorists are only cited with a DUI or DWI infraction if their blood alcohol level tops 0.08 percent. However, underage motorists are not allowed to have any alcohol in their blood. In general, an underage motorist may be charged with a DUI or DWI infraction if their blood tests positive for the presence of alcohol at any detectable level whatsoever.

Once an underage motorist is charged with a DUI, he or she faces steep penalties. For example, Virginia generally treats an underage DUI or DWI as a Class One misdemeanor. Related penalties may include (but are not limited to): fines, community service, driver safety class attendance, alcohol and/or drug rehabilitation attendance, license suspension, ignition interlock installation, probation and/or incarceration.

It is also possible that these charges will impact your child’s schooling and/or employment. If your child has a child of his/her own, these charges could impact child custody and/or parenting time arrangements. These are only some of the many reasons why an underage DUI or DWI charge must be treated seriously and urgently. Failing to adequately respond to legitimate or illegitimate charges could impact your child for life. As a result, it is imperative that if your child has been charged with an underage DUI or DWI, you need to contact an experienced Virginia misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax now.

Being Charged as Underaged with DUI or DWI

If your underage son or daughter has been charged with a DUI or a DWI, the charges may be legitimate or illegitimate. Regardless, there are strong defensive tactics that a misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax, VA may be able to use in order to either get the charges dismissed or to mitigate any potential consequences your son or daughter may be facing in the wake of these accusations.

An underage DUI or DWI conviction is serious business and should not be treated lightly. If your child is convicted and this infraction remains on his or her record, the consequences for his or her employment, schooling, housing and community life could last forever. Please contact a misdemeanor lawyer located in Virginia at May Law, LLP so that we can begin working to protect your child’s rights.


Here are general guidelines about your legal rights following an arrest for a DUI:

  • You have the right to speak with a lawyer after your arrest. Call us regardless of the day or time of night. They can advise you of what you are legally required to do in terms of compliance and what information you must provide to detectives or police officers. Do not offer any information other than your name to officers, cell mates, or anyone else until advised by your lawyer at May Law, LLP.
  • If your DUI field tests came back positive for a blood alcohol level that was over the legal limit, your lawyer can advise you as to whether or not you have the right to be retested by a qualified individual or company of your choice. It is not uncommon for field test equipment to malfunction or be improperly calibrated. However, if the additional testing is admissible, it must be performed within a certain period of time.
  • During your first court appearance, you have the right to learn what charge or charges and penalties you are facing. You also have the right to learn what the minimum and maximum penalties are for a conviction of those charges. A Fairfax misdemeanor lawyer in Virginia can clarify this information for you and if there are extenuating circumstances in your case that could affect the outcome of your case.
  • During your arraignment, you have the right to plead not guilty though your lawyer can offer the best guidance in terms of a legal strategy based on the circumstances of your situation. Regardless of how you may view your circumstances, it’s critical that you consult with a member of our legal team as your plea could greatly impact your future.
  • You have the right to testify during your trial, and you have the right to not testify. In other words, you have the right to stay silent during your trial and not speak on your behalf. Not even the prosecutor can force you to take the stand in court. In fact, the Judge will instruct the jury that just because you chose to not testify does not mean you are automatically guilty of the charge against you. If you do choose to testify in court, the prosecutor will have the opportunity to cross examine you during the trial.

4 Reasons To Hire a Misdemeanor Lawyer

Although misdemeanors are not considered to be as serious as felonies, they can still result in severe and long-lasting consequences. For this reason, it’s vital for you to understand your rights and legal options when faced with a misdemeanor charge. Here are the top reasons why you should hire a misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax, VA.


1. You May Avoid Severe Penalties

In Virginia, misdemeanors can result in jail time of up to 12 months, fines of up to $2,500 or both. Other possible penalties include suspension of your driver’s license, probation, community service or a firearm purchase ban. The experienced lawyers at May Law, LLP strategically defend your case so that your penalties might be decreased, such as to avoid jail time, or so that your case may be dismissed altogether.


2. You May Avoid a Criminal Record

A misdemeanor conviction can have a major impact on your ability to secure employment, housing, higher education and more. A misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax, VA can help protect your personal and professional lives by fighting to have your case dismissed or your criminal record expunged, meaning that you won’t have to admit to the conviction.


3. You Are Not Reliant on a Public Defender

Public defenders provided by the state face huge caseloads and inadequate resources, which limits their ability to fight for your best interests. Private lawyers, on the other hand, can provide the full time and resources that your case deserves so that you may receive the most favorable outcome.


4. You Are Not Required To Plead Guilty

The legal process can be quite complex, but one simple rule is that you are innocent until proven guilty. Pleading guilty without a lawyer puts you at the mercy of the judge and prosecution, which can force you to accept the maximum penalties possible in your case. However, a misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax, VA can develop a defense strategy for your case focused on reducing or dismissing the charges against you.

Fairfax Misdemeanor Law FAQs

What is a misdemeanor expungement?

Occasionally, our Fairfax, Virginia misdemeanor lawyer is asked by a client about misdemeanor expungements and what is involved. Though a misdemeanor conviction is not as serious as a felony, it is still serious and can cause difficulties in the person’s life. For instance, if they are seeking a better job, are applying for a loan, or are entering into a new relationship, the fact is that having a criminal record can be cause for rejection. Though the individual may have indeed been guilty of the charge, it may have happened in their distant past and is no reflection on who they are today. For some, obtaining a misdemeanor expungement with the assistance of a Virginia misdemeanor lawyer is the answer.

What is an expungement?

The laws surrounding expungement vary somewhat from state to state, and how it is applied in a case is partially dependent on the circumstances of the individual. When you meet with a misdemeanor lawyer, Fairfax, VA residents trust, you will learn how Virginia’s laws apply in your case. Expungement is a legal process in which an individual has their criminal record “sealed,” which means making it unavailable to anyone. In essence, the person’s criminal history is erased and it is as if they were never convicted of a particular crime or even arrested. This can be invaluable for a person who wishes to put their criminal past behind them forever. Our Fairfax, VA misdemeanor lawyer can help you pursue this avenue if you were convicted of a misdemeanor and wish to have it removed from your criminal record.

Who can apply for a misdemeanor expungement?

Anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor criminal conviction can have their lawyer petition the court to expunge that misdemeanor from their record.

What is the process for obtaining a misdemeanor expungement?

This process is nearly identical to obtaining an expungement for a felony conviction. Your Fairfax, Virginia misdemeanor lawyer from May Law, LLP can explain the process to you beforehand in detail, but here is a general overview:

  1. In most cases, a petition for a misdemeanor expungement cannot be filed by your lawyer until at least five years after your conviction or sentence. In addition, you must complete at least five years of the court-ordered probation. 
  2. When your lawyer petitions the court on your behalf, the court will not grant you a misdemeanor expungement unless the following is true:
  • You have not been convicted of any additional misdemeanors since the time of the one for which you wish to have expunged from your record.
  • The misdemeanor was not a sex offense.
  • The misdemeanor was not an offense against a child who was younger than 16.
  • You do not have any pending criminal cases or misdemeanor or felony charges currently against you.
  • You have completed your probation and paid all fines levied against you in association with past convictions.
  • You have completed all court-ordered hours of community service.

How DUIs Are Handled When Driver is Underage?

Everybody makes mistakes. The key to mitigating potential consequences associated with mistakes usually involves addressing the fallout promptly and to the best of one’s ability. For example, say that your underage son or daughter has recently been charged with drinking and driving. It can be tempting to ignore that your son or daughter possibly had a serious lapse in judgment.

It can also be tempting to ignore the charges, especially if they seem to be trumped up or motivated by unacceptable biases. However, it is important to address this reality head-on. Failure to act quickly can limit your family’s legal options and weaken our team’s capacity to mount a strong defense.

If your underage son or daughter has recently been charged with drinking and driving (or drugged driving or otherwise driving while impaired/under the influence) please contact May Law, LLP now. The sooner you act, the sooner we can begin working on a strong, informed legal strategy, regardless of the specific circumstances surrounding the alleged offense.

Reckless Driving Charges

A misdemeanor lawyer Fairfax VA families trust knows that in the state of Virginia, there are dozens upon dozens of violations you could receive a traffic ticket for. Maybe you thought you could beat the yellow light and you ended up running a red light instead. Maybe you were not watching your speed and you were caught going 10 miles per hour over the limit. Whatever the offense, most of the time when a police officer pulls you over, you will probably only receive a ticket for a moving violation. In certain circumstances, you may be pulled over because you committed a more serious offense. One of the more serious traffic offenses you can be charged with is reckless driving. Reckless driving is more than just a traffic ticket — you can be charged with a misdemeanor or even a felony crime, depending on the circumstances. The following is a brief overview of reckless driving charges, but for more detailed information about your circumstances, call May Law, LLP.

What Constitutes Reckless Driving in Virginia?

According to Virginia law, a person can be charged with reckless driving if they operate their vehicle in a reckless manner that endangers the “life, limb, or property” of those that they share the roads with.

What Are Some Examples of Reckless Driving That Can Result in a Criminal Conviction?

The following are some of the examples of reckless driving cited in the statute that can result in a criminal charge. In many cases, it is up to the discretion of the arresting police officer and the judge to determine whether or not reckless driving has taken place:

  • Driver fails to yield right-of-way or reduce speed when approaching stationary vehicles displaying certain warning lights on highways
  • Driving too fast for highway and traffic conditions
  • Driving two abreast in a single lane
  • Driving a vehicle that is not under control, such as faulty brakes
  • Driving with the driver’s view obstructed or control impaired
  • Exceeding the speed limit by more than 20 m.p.h.
  • Failing to give proper signals
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way
  • Passing a stopped school bus
  • Passing at a railroad grade crossing
  • Passing on or at the crest of a grade or on a curve
  • Passing two vehicles abreast
  • Racing
  • Reckless driving on parking lots, etc.

What Are the Consequences of a Reckless Driving Conviction?

In its basic form, reckless driving is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. This means you could face up to 12 months in jail and up to $2,500 in fines for a reckless driving conviction. In certain situations, charges can escalate to felony charges.

What Should I Do If I’m Charged with Reckless Driving?

If you have been charged with reckless driving, do not delay in contacting May Law, LLP to meet with a Fairfax misdemeanor lawyer. We will schedule a free and confidential consultation with you and discuss the best legal options for defending against these charges for you.

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Whether you’re being charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor or a Class 4 misdemeanor, it’s important to remember that your criminal record can affect your ability to get a job, apply for housing, and maintain your connections to your family and friends. Thinking beyond the basic punishments, you might end up struggling for several years to clear your name and return to normal, and that’s not a fight anyone should have to deal with alone.

At May Law, LLP, we know that you have a future worth protecting, and we know that you shouldn’t accept the punishments for your misdemeanor without a fight. No matter what class of misdemeanor you might be facing, you should always reach out to a lawyer to learn the ins and outs of your current legal situation.

A misdemeanor can be frustrating and overwhelming, but instead of panicking, get educated. Reach out to a misdemeanor lawyer in Fairfax, VA today, and see how May Law, LLP can guide you towards a better tomorrow.

A misdemeanor is a significant conviction that should be treated accordingly. Hiring a misdemeanor lawyer provides you with legal guidance and a strong defense in your case. This support can be the game changer that saves your freedom and reputation. The lawyers at May Law, LLP understand how upsetting a misdemeanor charge can be and pursue the best outcome possible in your case so that you can move forward with your life.

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