Are you facing jail time or a loss of security clearance because of a criminal charge? Get the answers you need to protect your rights
Attorney Kyle G. Manikas has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions in response to the overwhelming number of people who face criminal charges and need help in Fairfax County. If you are one of these people, read on to learn how to protect your legal rights.
- Page 1
After arresting me, did the police officer need to read me my Miranda rights?
When you are a suspect in a crime or have been arrested, you have important constitutional rights to protect you from illegal searches and seizures of property, illegal arrests, and much more. One important right you have is to be given your Miranda warnings in certain situations. Although this is a basic right you have by law, some police officers don't always follow it.
When Is a Miranda Warning Required in Virginia?
Officers are required to give Miranda warnings when two specific conditions are met:
- You are in "custody"
- There's an interrogation, or some form of questioning that one could reasonably expect to lead to an incriminating response
Both conditions must be present before Miranda warnings are required. Therefore, you can be questioned by the police before being taken into custody, and anything you say at that point can be used against you later in court.
What is considered custody is much broader than formal arrest and is defined by hundreds of legal opinions from state and federal courts. Those legal opinions also set forth a number of exceptions to the Miranda requirement.
What Are Your Miranda Rights in Virginia?
If Miranda is required, you must be informed of certain constitutional rights before the interrogation begins. Those rights include being informed of the following:
- That you have a right to remain silent
- That anything you say can and will be used against you
- That you have a right to speak to an attorney and to have an attorney present when you are questioned
If Miranda warnings are required, but not read, your statement may be inadmissible if your attorney files and successfully argues the appropriate motion. However, a Miranda violation normally doesn't invalidate the arrest. Rather, it deprives the prosecutors of the use of your statement in proving their case.
Even if the police read you your Miranda rights, they can still violate your rights by not allowing you to enforce these important protections. For example, if the police continue to talk to you or ask you questions after you invoke your right to remain quiet or to request an attorney, this could be a violation that may result in your statements being suppressed.
Have a Fairfax Criminal Defense Lawyer Analyze Your Case
Are you a suspect in a criminal investigation or been charged with a crime? Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with a Fairfax Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer to learn what you can expect in your criminal proceeding and how our experienced legal team can help you reach the best possible outcome.
Can I get an expungement of my criminal record?
A criminal record can have long-term consequences on your life, including your ability to obtain a professional license, employment, and housing. Accordingly, it makes sense that you would want your criminal record expunged as soon as possible. However, expungement is not a right, and you can only obtain an expungement in very limited circumstances in Virginia.
What Is an Expungement in Virginia?
Expungement is the legal process of removing all records of your arrest and criminal charge from public access. When an expungement is granted, information relating the the offense that is on your criminal record with the NCIC is removed or sealed. Additionally, all court records are destroyed and sealed, and any records of the police department and the prosecutors office are destroyed.
An expungement may also give you the right to treat the offense as if it didn't occur in answering questions on applications. However, the federal government (including immigration authorities) always have the right to ask about expunged offenses because federal law is supreme over state law.
When Can You Expunge a Criminal Offense in Virginia?
Adult criminal records expungement is extremely limited in Virginia. Convictions can never be expunged under current law. However, if you were not convicted, you may be eligible for expungement in these situations:
- You pled not guilty and were acquitted (found "not guilty") of the charges by a judge or jury.
- You were charged with contempt of court in a civil case but were acquitted.
- You are the defendant in a criminal case where the prosecutor decides not to prosecute and abandons all charges—usually through a motion for nolle prosequi (nolle pros)
- Your name or identity was stolen and used in another crime.
- You were convicted of a crime but received an absolute pardon.
- You charge was dismiss as part of n accord and satisfaction.
- You were charged with a crime, but the offense was amended to a different charge and the new charge is different in nature than the original charge.
If you entered a court program (such as the 251 program for drug possession or the OAR program for petit larceny) where you did community service and had to meet other requirements to get your case dismissed, then the case is only expungeable if you did not "stipulate" that the facts were sufficient for conviction when you entered the deal. The only way to know this is to examine the court order.
Given that Virginia doesn't allow the expungement of any convictions for any reason at any time, the time to challenge the charge is now. While it may not be possible for everyone to get their charges dismissed, the only opportunity you have is to fight the charge or have it reduced is now.
Fairfax Virginia Expungement Lawyer
If you need to seek an expungement or have been charged with a crime, call our office today at 703-556-0004 or use the Contact Us box to schedule a free consultation with a Fairfax Virginia Expungement and Criminal Defense Lawyer. Learn how our experienced criminal defense team can help you build your defense.