Felonies Defense Attorney in Virginia Beach

Felonies LawyerVirginia Beach felony criminal defense attorney Patricia Hardt does not simply pay lip service to vigorously defending her clients’ rights. She has the track record to prove that she means business when she steps into a courtroom. Attorney Hardt relies upon her experience, her superior knowledge of the law, and her unwavering belief that every person is entitled to the best defense possible to defend her clients vigorously. Attorney Hardt’s experience working as a public defender taught her to always fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. Attorney Hardt’s tenure as a prosecutor helped her develop a keen sense of the value of a case and how to think like a prosecutor which guides her in anticipating arguments when representing people charged with felonies. So if you or a loved one is facing a felony charge in Virginia, Patricia Hardt will fight to protect your rights and be by your side every step of the way.

Attorney Hardt has represented many clients facing serious charges. An explanation of some of those crimes follows.

Non-Capital Murder

Virginia law recognizes three classes of murder. In addition to capital murder, there is murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree. First-degree murder is a Class 2 felony punishable by incarceration for life or any terms of years exceeding 20 years. First-degree murder is defined by statute as poisoning, lying in wait, imprisonment, or willful and deliberate premeditation killing. First-degree murder can also be committed during the commission of an inherently dangerous felony such as rape, robbery, and burglary. All other murders are second-degree murders, which are punishable a term of incarceration of no less than five but no more than 40 years.

Virginia law recognizes manslaughter as another type of unlawful killing. Manslaughter is either voluntary and involuntary. Both may be punished as a Class 5 felony, and the convict is subject to confinement in the state prison for one to ten years but in some circumstances can be as long as 20 years. Involuntary manslaughter committed while driving under the influence is a Class 5 felony as well.

Burglary

Burglary is a felony and a serious crime. Virginia statutes define burglary as the breaking and entering of a dwelling house with the intent to commit a felony or a larceny within the dwelling. Unarmed burglary is a Class 3 felony. Class 3 felonies may be punished by a term of incarceration of no less than five years by no more than 20 years. Committing a burglary while armed with a deadly weapon is a severe crime and is a Class 2 felony. Class 2 felonies will be punished by a prison term of no less than 20 years, up to life.

Conspiracy

Virginia law punishes the crime of conspiracy as a felony.  Conspiracy is the unlawful agreement to commit a crime in Virginia, or the act of reaching an agreement to commit an act outside of Virginia, while in the Commonwealth. The punishment for conspiracy cannot exceed the penalty for the completed act. Conspiracies can be punished as:

  • A Class 3 felony if the completed crime is punishable by death;
  • A Class 5 felony if the completed crime in a non-capital felony; and
  • A crime punishable by no more than one year if the felony is punishable by five years or less.

Abduction

Abduction or kidnapping are the same crimes under Virginia law. Abduction is the unlawful taking a carrying away or detention of a person by force, threat, or intimidation with the intent to deprive that person of their rightful liberty or conceal that person in some way. Abduction is a Class 5 felony. Additionally, abduction to force a person into servitude is also a Class 5 felony. Parental kidnapping is a Class 1 misdemeanor under the law unless the parent removes the child from the Commonwealth. In that case, the crime is a Class 6 felony.

Rape

Persons charged with rape face a significant term of imprisonment. Virginia statutes define rape as the unlawful sexual intercourse with the complaining witness against that person’s will or accomplished by force, threats, or intimidation. Rape is also unlawful intercourse with a person under 13 as well as intercourse by exploiting a person’s mental or physical incapacity.

A person convicted of rape should expect to face a term of incarceration for life or any term of five years or longer. Additionally, the statute carries hefty enhanced penalties for aggravating factors. For example, a person convicted of rape by sexual intercourse with a child under 13 who is over 18 at the time of the commission of the crime, then the punishment is life in prison.

Property Crimes

Property crimes range from grave crimes such as burglary to arson and damage to property but also includes grand larceny. Grand larceny is stealing from a person property valued at $5 or more that was on the person when the crime was committed. Otherwise, theft of goods not on the person exceeding $200 is also grand larceny. Furthermore, theft of a firearm wherever the firearm was situated at the time of the crime is also grand larceny. Grand larceny may be punished by a term of incarceration of not more than 20 years but no less than one year.

Bond Hearing

Attorney Hardt’s zealous advocacy for her clients begins at the bond hearing. Attorney Hardt knows that it is easier for her and her clients if they can post bond and “fight the case from the street” rather than being stuck in jail while awaiting trial. Under Virginia law, a person who is held in custody is entitled to a bond hearing and a determination by judicial officers of the appropriate terms of release. A person will be admitted to bail unless there is probable cause to believe that there the person will not reappear as directed and the public is in danger if the person does not remain behind bars.

The bail statute contains other crimes which create a rebuttable presumption of no bail. However, the judicial officer must take into consideration the nature and circumstances of the offense, the defendant’s prior criminal record and history of offenses, the defendant’s biographical and ties to the community among other factors, as well as whether the defendant is a danger. A judicial officer may release the defendant on a cash bond or bail and recognizance with conditions to ensure that the defendant comes back to court and does not commit additional crimes while released on bail.

Importantly, a person aggrieved by a bail order has the right to appeal.

Virginia Beach Felony Defense Attorney Committed To High-Quality Representation

Attorney Patricia Hardt will be there for you, or your loved one, at the most trying times. She knows the pressures and stress you face. She will take the time to thoroughly examine your case and go over your options with you. Put Attorney Patricia Hardt’s advocacy skills work for you. Call Virginia Beach criminal defense attorney Patricia Hardt today at 757-962-5588 to schedule an appointment.