Criminal Defense in West Virginia
What Is A Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Because a criminal conviction can have serious consequences, you want an experienced West Virginia attorney on your side. A criminal defense lawyer is an advocate for justice. These attorneys research the facts of your case so you can have peace of mind. By performing their own investigation, criminal defense attorneys put you in a better position to negotiate a deal with the prosecutors, possibly resulting in reduced charges, a lower bail amount, less sentencing time and even possibly dismissed charges. Put simply, hiring a defense lawyer in West Virginia is the most effective way to protect your rights.
Without an attorney, the options for defense narrow. Unfortunately, the West Virginia criminal process more than likely leads to costly fines, jail time and possible incarceration for those who do not have competent legal counsel. As jails become increasingly overcrowded, criminal defense attorneys work with prosecutors to reduce the time that you may spend in jail. They do this by formulating a plea, reviewing the procedure of the search and seizure, questioning witnesses, gathering evidence, assessing the potential sentence and investigating the prosecutor’s case. Furthermore, your West Virginia criminal defense lawyer helps you understand the complex criminal justice system.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer in West Virginia
Hiring a criminal defense lawyer gives you access to a professional who defends you aggressively. This means you have someone standing beside you when you face the judge. If you are looking to hire a compassionate and committed criminal defense lawyer in West Virginia who is ready to help represent you in court, we have lawyers that are standing by in all areas of law throughout multiple locations in the United States. Get in contact with us today.
What is the Difference Between Parole and Probation?
If you are facing criminal charges in West Virginia, you may have an option for either parole or probation. While their names are similar, these two concepts are vastly different. Your criminal defense attorney can help you understand these alternatives to incarceration.
Probation is typically an alternative to jail or prison. There are times where a judge may order a defendant to serve probation. If you are on probation, you will be under a certain set of guidelines. Furthermore, there will also likely be strict supervision rules.
Because of this, West Virginia laws are in place to force you to submit to warrantless searches without any probable cause.
When you receive probation, a judge usually will give you an opportunity to show that you have an interest in receiving rehabilitation. Probation in place of an incarceration sentence may not be an option without expert defense, though. Accordingly, to avoid a direct prison sentence you should immediately seek legal advice.
Even though probation does not send you to jail, it usually requires you to follow many of the same conditions that come with serving time in prison. Some of these conditions include participating in rehabilitating programs, following a curfew, and receiving frequent drug testing.
In West Virginia you may be also required to pay restitution, court costs, a fine and any other fees. The length of time you are on probation may drastically range, depending on the initial crime and your previous history.
The West Virginia Legislature passed laws that relate the probation period to good behavior and the amount of time served. A judge may order the maximum time of the sentence minus deductions for an inmate’s conduct while in prison. If an individual has a life sentence, they cannot receive parole or probation for less than five years.
If you do not follow the precise instructions a judge gives you, the judge may revoke your probation. This typically results in incarceration. Furthermore, depending on the nature of your violation, you may receive an additional sentence beyond your initial one.
West Virginia Code says that you have to follow a strict set of rules to remain on probation. Conditions of release may include the following types of restrictions and responsibilities:
- Restitution, fines, or other fees
- Regular meetings at a probation office
- Paying a supervision fee of no more than $20 per month
- Limiting travel to within an assigned area or the state border
A probation officer can arrest a probationer at any time with reasonable suspicions that he or she violated the terms of their release. A judge can order confinement for 60 to 120 days after a violation under West Virginia Criminal Procedure. Regardless of the number of violations, the state does not have the same burden of proof while trying a free citizen. Only a lawyer can protect your rights in this situation to the fullest extent possible.
Typically, a probation officer manages your probation. This officer monitors your progress and compliance. He or she also files periodic reports with the court. Accordingly, if you do not comply with the terms of your probation, the judge is apt to know. Then he or she may then revoke your probation and send you to jail. A West Virginia criminal defense attorney can help you with probation violations.
Instead of interacting with a probation officer, parole requires you to report to a parole officer. A parole officer will outline any expectations you are to meet. In addition to the rules of your parole. He or she also monitors your progress and reports back to the court and the parole board.
Parole is a term to refer to the period of time that comes after a release from incarceration. Just as with probation, there are usually many conditions and safeguards that you must follow during your parole.
According to the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, parole conditions can include travel limitations. A parolee also has a monthly $40 supervision fee, and they cannot relocate without giving notice to the state. Ownership of firearms is also forbidden, along with explosives or other types of deadly weapons. An officer from Parole Services may administer drug tests or install monitoring devices like an ignition interlock device.
If you violate the terms of your parole, the parole board may require you to finish the remaining time of your sentence. Certain violations, though, may result in additional charges and a longer incarceration time resulting in the need for a West Virginia criminal defense attorney.
Work With an Experienced Local West Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer
A West Virginia criminal defense attorney works with the prosecuting attorney to determine a beneficial outcome in your criminal case. You may not want to go through the criminal justice process alone. By working together to negotiate an affordable bond or a later plea deal, an experienced criminal defense lawyer uses all available resources and relationships with prosecutors to negotiate the best possible outcome for your criminal defense case. He or she may also help you seek a dismissal of your criminal complaint.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in any state, contact our team to learn how we can connect you with a reputable criminal defense attorney near you. We can even help you connect with an attorney across West Virginia state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!