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Criminal Law
Types of Cases We Handle Most

NCLS can handle all types of criminal law cases, including but not limited to:

Assault and Battery


Domestic Violence

With the help of a qualified, experienced lawyer, you’ll have the best possible chance of receiving the most favorable potential outcome in court. Our defense attorney will examine every aspect of your case in order to build a strong defense, one that protects your constitutional rights and aims for the reduction of your charges or even the total dismissal of your case.

If you are contacted by any law enforcement agency, do not make any statements as they will most likely be used to build a case against you later. Politely decline to comment and then contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. The sooner an experienced lawyer begins an investigation, the better your chance of defeating the case.
Assault and Battery
Assault and battery often bring up images of the typical fight or brawl, and some states combine the two offenses. However, the terms are actually two separate legal concepts with distinct elements. In short, an assault is an attempt or threat to injure another person, while a battery would be actually contacting another person in a harmful or offensive manner.

Generally, assault is defined as a threat against another that creates, in the mind of the victim, a reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact. Battery is the harmful or offensive contact itself. Either offense may incorporate the use of a weapon. The key component of a simple assault or assault and battery charge is intent to cause fear or contact, and it must be provable in court before a judge and jury.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, assault charges are taken very seriously, and the legal considerations can be very confusing. For the purpose of prosecution, assault has been combined with a battery charge, and it encompasses a variety of acts that an experienced assault lawyer can help clarify.

Under DC law, the crime of assault does not require an actual battery. One way that a person can be charged with an assault is through an attempted battery, meaning a person injured or attempted to injure another individual through the intentional application of force or violence.

Assault and battery charges in Maryland have serious consequences that can include significant jail time. We will work closely with you to provide a solid defense against these charges.
Petty and Grand Larceny
Petty larcenyis the crime of theft of another’s property or money under a certain value defined by the law, in which the value is below the grand larceny limit.

Theft crimes in Virginia fall under the category of “larceny,” which generally means the unauthorized taking of money or property without the owner’s permission.

In Virginia you may be charged with petit (or petty) larceny if you do one of the following things:

Take property directly from another’s person that is worth less than $5.00;
Take property or services (not from another’s person) worth less than $200.00;
Shoplift merchandise from a commercial establishment worth less than $200.
Petit larceny is generally charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor, meaning you could face up to a year in jail and a fine up to $2,500.

You may be charged with Grand larceny if you do one of the following:

Take property directly from another’s person that is worth $5.00 or more;
Take property or services (not from another’s person) worth $200.00 or more;
Shoplift merchandise from a commercial establishment worth $200 or more;
Take a firearm of any value.
In most cases, grand larceny is charged as a felony and the degree of felony can depend on the value of the property stolen. Sentences for felony charges may range from one to 20 years in prison.

Crimes of theft in any state must be taken very seriously. If convicted, you could seriously jeopardize your ability to obtain housing, employment, loans and other living necessities in the future. With the help of a qualified, experienced theft lawyer, you’ll have the best possible chance of receiving the most favorable potential outcome in court. Our defense attorney will examine every aspect of your case in order to build a strong defense, one that protects your constitutional rights and aims for the reduction of your charges or even the total dismissal of your case.
Domestic Violence
In Virginia, it is crime to injure, attempt to injure, or even threaten to injure a member of your family or household (Virginia Code Section 18.2-57.2). Any form of assault behavior toward a family member may be a crime in its own right, but if a perceived victim is a family or household member, there will most likely be a prosecution for the separate and distinct crime of domestic violence.

If an alleged act of domestic violence occurs, almost always a protective order is issued restraining the accused from having contact with various family members identified in the protective order. Once a protective order has been served upon a person, it becomes a crime to violate or disobey the specific terms of the protective order, which may involve a prohibition against even the slightest attempted communication with members of your family or household who are the subjects sought to be protected.

In Maryland, there is no specific law prohibiting domestic violence. Instead, defendants accused of assaulting, stalking, or threatening intimate partners can be charged with criminal offenses like first or second-degree assault under Maryland Code Sections 3-202 and 3-203 or harassment under Maryland Code Section 3-803. More stringent penalties may be imposed upon defendants who are accused of domestic violence when a child is in the house, after a 2014 change to the law, which could constitute child abuse.

Defendants may be prohibited from keeping weapons while subject to a protective order, and a protective order can also prevent a domestic violence defendant from seeing a spouse or children or living in a shared family home. Because the consequences extend beyond criminal prosecution, defendants need a domestic violence lawyer in Maryland who can help to move the domestic violence case forward quickly and effectively within the legal system.

Section 4-501 of Maryland’s Family Law statute has a relatively broad definition of domestic violence, encompassing a spectrum of events which may occur between household members or individuals within the same family. Included in this category are transgressions such as:

Physical assault
Attempted rape
Actual rape
False imprisonment or preventing freedom of movement
Creation of fear of imminent harm in another
Physicality producing serious bodily harm
Further, it should be noted that an accused party does not necessarily have to be the spouse of the accuser. The fact is that complaints of this type may be lodged by anyone who is a blood relation, co-habitating partners, those related through marriage or adoption, a natural child, step-parents, a household member or an adult without the necessary mental or physical ability to meet his or her own needs on a daily basis.

As soon as you charged with domestic violence or are served with a protective order, the first thing you should do is to call a domestic violence lawyer. Our domestic violence lawyer will investigate your case thoroughly, using any information you can provide as well as utilizing outside resources. We understand how difficult domestic violence charges can be, and we are committed to helping you lessen the impact of these charges on your personal and professional life.

Driving Under the Influence
While receiving an accusation of Driving Under the Influence may feel overwhelming, know that a professional DUI lawyer can help. We will aggressively fight for your rights by applying our knowledge and experience and making the arguments that win.
There is no need for a DUI offense to get in the way of everything else in your life. Our attorney has experience in handling criminal charges in VA, MD and DC and DUIs are no exception to this.

Driving under the influence is one of the most commonly charged crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Maryland and DC. While receiving an accusation may feel overwhelming, know that a professional DUI lawyer can help.

The 0.08 percent limit is the standard measurement used by all states for the “impaired” driver.

According to section 18.2-266 of the Virginia Code, you can be charged with driving under the influence if you are found to be operating a motor vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.08 or higher. You can also be charged with a drug-related DUI with a lower BAC if you are found to be under the influence of narcotics or even prescription drugs.

Maryland has two levels of drinking and driving. The first, driving under the influence (DUI), is a .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or above. With this .08 BAC, Maryland considers you to be under the influence of alcohol “per se.” That means the state wouldn’t have to show other evidence of your drinking, such as the smell of alcohol on your breath or your failure of the field sobriety tests. A driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs (DWI) is a less severe crime, with a lower BAC limit of .07.

Washington D.C. also has two levels of severity of “drunk driving”, similar to Maryland.

DC also has a Zero Tolerance for drivers under the age of 21. This means that if you are under the age of 21 you are not allowed to have any measurable alcohol in your system. The Washington D.C. DUI / DWI law also includes driving under the influence of controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, inhalants and other drugs.

There is no need for a DUI offense to get in the way of everything else in your life. Our attorney has experience in handling criminal charges in VA, MD and DC and DUIs are no exception to this.
Classification of Crimes
Felonies and Misdemeanors

In general, the potential punishment for a crime determines its classification. For example, if an offense carries possible imprisonment of more than one year commonly makes it a felony. (Another way of framing “felony” is whether the crime could result in time in prison rather than jail.) The crime typically remains a felony even if the judge sentences the defendant to something other than the maximum sentence—even if the actual punishment doesn’t involve any time behind bars.

A misdemeanor, on the other hand, is usually any crime that has a maximum jail sentence of a year or less, or no prison time at all. A crime can actually be a misdemeanor for most purposes and a felony for others. For example, an offense that is a misdemeanor under state law might be an aggravated felony for purposes of federal immigration proceedings.

Both felonies and misdemeanors can be punished by fines and other penalties (requirement of an interlock in the car for alcohol-related offenses, revocation of driver’s privileges, sex-offender registration,) in addition to incarceration.

Infractions and Wobblers

An infraction is simply a low-level crime, one that’s less serious than a misdemeanor. Infractions normally don’t carry any jail time but involve fines. Perhaps the best example is a traffic ticket for speeding. Some states even classify infractions like speeding as civil—not criminal—offenses.

A “wobbler” is certainly more serious, but really isn’t its own kind of crime. Instead, “wobbler” denotes an offense that prosecutors can charge and judges can sentence as either a felony or a misdemeanor. In some states and for some crimes, judges can even wait until a defendant has completed probation to decide whether an offense is a misdemeanor or felony.

Prosecutors get to choose how to charge wobblers. But their choice isn’t necessarily controlling: Judges usually have the final say as to whether the offense will be a misdemeanor or felony. The offender’s circumstances and the facts in question regularly shape the misdemeanor-or-felony decision.

Drawing the Line

When deciding whether to classify crimes as felonies, wobblers, misdemeanors, or even infractions, state legislatures consider how culpable the action in question makes the defendant. Someone who commits armed robbery, for example, would be more culpable than one who shoplifts, primarily because of the level of danger. Legislatures are more likely to make offenses against property or “public order” misdemeanors than they are crimes that involve threats, injuries, and the like.

Many crimes start out as misdemeanors and become felonies when some additional circumstance is present. Common elements that can jump misdemeanors up to felonies include:

the value of stolen or destroyed property
quantities of drugs
use of a dangerous weapon
injuring someone
having prior convictions.
Degrees of Crime

Lots of states separate their crimes—whether misdemeanors or felonies—into degrees or gradations. (They often do so based on the same criteria that distinguish felonies from misdemeanors.) A common distinction is between “regular” and petty misdemeanors, the latter being less serious and therefore bringing lesser punishment. A more elaborate differentiation is between “classes” or “levels” of crimes, “Class A” or “Level One” usually being the most severe.


The classification affects not only the punishment for a crime but also the procedure. In some states, for example, the prosecution need only file a “complaint” in a misdemeanor prosecution, whereas a preliminary hearing or indictment is required for felony charges.
Types of Punishment
Jail vs. Prison

There’s a big difference, in terms of time spent and living conditions (and the nature of your fellow inmates). Here are some specifics:

Jails are operated by local governments, whereas a prison is part of a state-wide system.
Jails house people who are awaiting trial and have not posted bail. They also house people convicted of misdemeanors, and sometimes felons who have been given a short stay in the local jail and a period of probation.
In most states, jail inmates who have been convicted of misdemeanors stay no more than a year. By contrast, state prisons accommodate sentences of up to life in prison.
Jails are full of relatively short-term residents, with a constantly changing roster of inmates, whereas a prison consists of a more stable population.
The stresses associated with each are accordingly different: Some jail residents have never been incarcerated and are bewildered and confused; prison inmates who are inside for a number of years are at least used to their surroundings.
Probation and Parole
Probation and parole are both alternatives to incarceration. And offenders placed on probation or parole are required to follow certain conditions. However, probation and parole have significantly different functions in the criminal justice system.

Probation is a type of criminal sentence that allows an offender to remain in the community (as opposed to being in jail). Typically, when a defendant is convicted of a crime and sentenced to probation, the judge “suspends” the jail sentence while the defendant is on probation. As long as the conditions of probation are being met, the offender is allowed to remain out of jail.

There are two types of probation: formal and informal. Formal probation is sometimes referred to as “supervised probation” and typically requires the offender to report to a probation officer. Formal probation is generally imposed for all felony and some misdemeanor convictions. Informal probation—which is typically imposed only in misdemeanor cases—is sometimes referred to as “bench probation” or “court probation” and requires the offender to report directly to the court, instead of a probation officer.An offender on informal probation is generally required to report to the court only to make payments for fines and fees, submit proof of completion of probation requirements (such as community service hours or treatment), and to update a change of address.

Paroleis the supervised release of an inmate from prison into the community. Generally, the time the offender spends on parole is considered part of the sentence. Inmates may be released on parole by a parole board decision, known as “discretionary parole,” or according to the requirements of a statute, known as “mandatory parole.” Generally, offenders serve a significant portion of their sentence incarcerated before being eligible for release on parole. A parolee usually reports to a parole officer who monitors the parolee’s progress in fulfilling the conditions of parole.

The main purpose of parole is to help the parolee successfully reintegrate into the community after serving time in prison. To achieve this purpose, most parole systems aim to rehabilitate offenders while providing safety to the community.

Conditions of Parole and Probation

Whether placed on probation or parole, the offender is required to follow certain rules known as “conditions” or “terms” of probation or parole. Generally, the conditions of probation are similar to the conditions of parole. However, probation conditions come from the court, while parole conditions come from the parole board or department of corrections. Typical conditions include requiring the probationer or parolee to:

report as required and obey all directions of the supervising probation or parole officer;
pay supervision fees, fines, and victim restitution;
not use or possess controlled substances and submit to testing for controlled substance or alcohol use;
complete a substance abuse evaluation and follow the recommendations of the evaluator;
complete community service work;
not leave the state without permission;
find and maintain employment and/or schooling;
not change employment or residence without permission;
consent to the search of person, vehicle, and residence;
obey all laws and truthfully answer all questions by the probation or parole officer, and
not possess any weapons.
Probation and parole conditions vary depending on the jurisdiction and nature of the offense. Some offenses require offenders to adhere to additional conditions. For example, a defendant convicted of molesting a child might be required to report as a sex offender, complete sex offender treatment, and stay away from areas where children typically congregate (such as parks, schools, and playgrounds).
First Offender
First offender refers to a person convicted of a legal offense for the first time. First offender is entitled to special privileges in a criminal trial.

A “first offender” program is a way for a defendant to avoid the full effects of a criminal prosecution. It’s a type of diversion, often for those who have no previous criminal record, or at least no felony convictions. (Usually traffic tickets don’t count, but defendants with juvenile offenses may be disqualified). In a typical first-offender program, by completing the program, the defendant keeps a conviction off her record.

Eligibility for first-time-offender programs varies from state to state. Some states may limit program participation to those facing misdemeanor charges, while others may let in those looking at certain felony charges. Commonly, though, first-offender programs are available only where the charges don’t involve a violent or “serious” offense. Many states have first-offender programs for juveniles.

Some states use the “first offender” terminology for programs that aren’t a form of diversion. For example, the law might require that someone convicted of a first DUI enter a “first offender” alcohol treatment program as a condition of punishment, rather than a way to avoid a conviction. Participation in the program is simply part of the sentence. Similar programs may exist for domestic violence cases.

People who have been convicted of or are charged with certain federal drug crimes may be eligible for the federal diversion program, described in the Federal First Offender Act, 18 U.S.C.S. § 3607. To be eligible, the defendant must not have prior state or federal convictions concerning controlled substances. A person can participate in the federal program only one time.

Defendants who enter the program plead guilty or have been found guilty, but their judgment of conviction is not officially “entered” into the record. After a year of probation, if the defendant has completed its terms successfully, the court will dismiss the proceedings without entering the judgment of conviction. But if the defendant violates probation, the case will proceed with the entry of the judgment and sentencing. For successful probationers, the case “shall not be considered a conviction.”
Expungement and Record Sealing
A criminal record can follow a person for an entire lifetime, affecting his or her ability to find a job, continue with education, or even sign a lease. Even if a criminal case does not result in a conviction, a record of an arrest and a criminal prosecution remains. It is possible for a person to have records of a criminal case sealed, meaning that no one may view the contents of his or her file without a court order. It is also possible, through a process known as expungement, for a person to have the criminal file removed from the public record entirely. Laws regarding expungement, including the types of offenses that may be expunged and the procedure for doing so, vary widely from one state to another.

Defendants who were younger than 21 years of age at the time of the offense, and who successfully complete probation, will see the record of their case expunged or sealed. They may truthfully answer “No” to any questions about the case, even the arrest itself. The Department of Justice will maintain a nonpublic record of the case, for use by the courts when determining the person’s eligibility for future diversions under this program. 

The key difference between expunging a person’s criminal record and sealing it is that a sealed record still “exists” in both a legal and physical sense, while expungement results in the deletion of any record that an arrest or criminal charge ever occurred. It is typically standard procedure to seal records of juvenile criminal proceedings once the person turns 18, along with other criminal cases involving a juvenile, but those records are still accessible with a court order.

Eligibility for Expungement

State laws defining the requirements to qualify for expungement vary widely. Some states only allow expungements in cases that resulted in the dismissal of the charges before the entry of a plea, such as through successful completion of a deferred prosecution agreement. Other states might allow expungements after a conviction, but only for certain offenses categorized as minor infractions or misdemeanors. Serious felonies are rarely, if ever, eligible.

Criteria for expungement eligibility might include:

Sufficient time since the indictment or the conclusion of the criminal case;
No additional criminal history since the end of the case;
No convictions for certain disqualifying offenses, which usually include serious felonies;
Minimal prior criminal history; and
Completion of all terms of deferred disposition, probation, parole, or the sentence.
Expungement Procedures

A person must file a petition for expungement, often in the same court in which the criminal prosecution took place. The petition only addresses a single criminal case. If a person wants to expunge records of multiple cases, he or she must file more than one petition. The judge must review the petitioner’s file and determine whether he or she meets that jurisdiction’s requirements. Individual courts may also have their own procedural rules regarding expungement cases.

If the court grants the expungement, the petitioner might be responsible for providing copies of the order to any and all law enforcement agencies that have records related to the case. The court clerk typically keeps the main criminal file, but records may also be in the possession of the police department, sheriff’s office, jail, and probation office, as well as any office involved in community service or other requirements.
In an era of financial hardship, filing for bankruptcy may be the last option for people unable to resolve their outstanding debt problems.  Instead of gathering interest charges and perpetually being indebted to creditors, bankruptcy allows you to dismiss most obligationsyou would have to pay otherwise.

However, there are many limitations and consequences to filing for bankruptcy. That’s why you will definitely need legal help and professional advice from an experienced bankruptcy lawyer who will tell you what to expect in court and help you start a new financial life.

Most cases of bankruptcy are not caused by reckless spending, but by financial hardship, and many are lower-income individuals who simply cannot afford to deal with unexpected major expenses such as job loss or medical bills.

In the United States Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the top two most popular ways to file for bankruptcy. They are both specifically oriented towards individual or consumer debts.

Please keep in mind that both options involve long-term damage to your credit reports and makes it harder for you to obtain credits or loans in the future, as bankruptcies remain listed as long as 10 years.

However, especially Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the only real option for you if you are struggling financially and are unable to pay off what you owe to your creditors.

Chapter 7 filings accounts for 70% of non-business bankruptcy cases and sometimes it’s known as “liquidation bankruptcy”. In many cases, it involves selling your property to pay all or part of what you owe to creditors, unless there is not that much equity in your house.

Chapter 13 accounts for the other 30% of filings and allows the debtor to keep the property and pay debts over the time and is used by individuals with higher incomes, whose property is too valuable to be sold or they don’t want to part with it.

In Chapter 7 cases much of the debts are forgiven after selling the individual’s assets, while Chapter 13 filers are paying back the creditors over the time through a “repayment plan”.

While Chapter 7 bankruptcy process usually takes up to 5 months, Chapter 13 bankruptcy lasts for up to 5 years.

Before getting started you should understand what bankruptcy chapter would be the best option for you and determine if you qualify for it.

In order to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is a “fresh start” to debtors, you should earn less than the state median income on a monthly basis, or pass a “means test” that examines your financial records, including income, expenses, and secured and unsecured debt.

Secured debts are mortgages and car loans, while unsecured debts include credit card bills, personal loans, medical bills or even bad checks.

When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy you may be able to discharge your unsecured debts and save your house, your car and equipment or property needed for work. However, most likely, you will be forced to give up your savings, investments, family heirlooms and valuable collections, if any.

In order to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have to demonstrate that you will have enough income, after subtracting certain allowed expenses and required payments on secured debts, to meet your repayment obligations.

If you need help, you should get that help form a reliable source and consult a local attorney well-versed in such matters, as there are plenty of productive solutions to your financial problems and I encourage you to find them.