Criminal Enforcement in Henrico County
In Henrico County, some crimes are enforced more stringently than others and have a higher priority in the eyes of law enforcement officers. The following is information on those crimes, and what the increased attention means for individuals charged. To learn more about the enforcement of criminal offenses in Henrico County, call and schedule a consultation with a Henrico County criminal lawyer today.
Priorities For Law Enforcement in Henrico County
Law enforcement in Henrico is currently trying to crack down on DUI charges, drug issues and most recently prostitution cases. They crack down on DUIs by monitoring the roadways and looking for signs of impairment, especially at nighttime and during weekends. They handle drug cases particularly with either a drug task force or with the use of confidential informants a and undercover officers to make controlled buys and also to search out where drug sales are current.
With prostitution cases, the enforcement really comes in through stings that they use in the area. What the police are currently doing is posting ads on local websites or local newspapers and having officers posing as prostitutes at hotels with officers waiting there. When an individual walks into the hotel, they will be arrested on prostitution charges. Because these stings are happening, it is important for individuals to understand their rights when interacting with police. What you say to police without an attorney present may be used against you in court.
Do These Priorities Lead to Innocent People Being Charged?
The way law enforcement prioritizes these issues can occasionally lead to someone innocent being charged. Typically it’s because someone was in the wrong place at the wrong time, a case of mistaken identity. The best way to handle this is to get an attorney. You’re going to want an attorney who can walk you through the process and who can handle the matter with the goal of getting the charge dismissed and eventually expunged from your record.
Charges Taken Most Seriously By Prosecutors
Prosecutors in Henrico County are trying to be particularly tough on DUI charges and larceny charges. With DUI charges, it’s a public safety concern. Henrico County is very large, and there are a number of heavy trafficked roadways throughout the county. There have also been accidents over the last few years that have involved serious injury and fatalities caused primarily from DUI.
With larceny charges, there’s a growing commercial industry in the county. Prosecutors are trying to protect that and protect business owners and prosecute shoplifting charges very vigorously.
Are There Any Other Charges Treated Seriously in Court?
Henrico courts take DUI and drug distribution charges very seriously. These are matters that are public safety concerns for the county. The judges will regularly impose the most severe sentencing DUI and drug distribution charges with the idea toward deterring others from committing the same crime, and sending a message that such actions won’t be tolerated.
What Effect Can This Have On Building a Defense?
When prosecutors are cracking down on particular crimes, it can make defending those cases much more difficult. The prosecutors can be less likely to negotiate and less likely to work out plea agreements. With that said, however, this is where having an attorney is even more important, because you want an attorney who can aggressively challenge the state’s evidence and can also raise legal issues to use to try and negotiate and get the charges reduced.
Issues With the Henrico County Criminal System
The biggest problem we see with the current criminal justice system is that the speed at which cases move along is almost too fast. We see a lot of misdemeanor cases where individuals just simply don’t have the time to retain their own counsel and end up just handling the case themselves and often getting convicted.
One of the other issues we see is with what are called the minimum mandatory sentencing. The problem with charges that come with minimum mandatory sentences is that it really doesn’t allow the prosecutors or the judges any discretion in imposing its penalties. In other words, no matter what the particular facts are, if you’re convicted of a certain crime, there’s only one penalty and one penalty allowed under the law.
The main way to try and change this is to seek issues with the general assembly to either change or amend the laws to allow for greater discretion.