Criminal Law Attorneys Handling A Wide Spectrum Of Cases
From misdemeanors to felonies, the attorneys at Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC, are committed to delivering the highest caliber defense for clients facing criminal charges that have life-changing consequences. There is no guesswork; we have encountered virtually every scenario over the years in criminal law areas including:
- Drug offenses
- Violent crimes
- White collar crimes
- Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI)
- Traffic offenses
- Reckless driving
- Sex crimes
Greg Ashwell’s experience not only as a defense attorney but as a former state prosecutor and district court judge helps our attorneys anticipate how judges and juries will view a case. Will Ashwell has represented clients in the highest state and federal courts. We are ready to scrutinize alleged evidence and devise strategies that are crucial to securing a favorable outcome for each client.
To schedule a consultation after you have been charged with a crime in Virginia, contact us at 540-991-9100 or send an email inquiry.
Steps In The Criminal Defense Process
The following descriptions are generalized and do not include all phases of a criminal case. However, they showcase some of our criminal defense strategies from a bird’s-eye view.
- Initial consultation: We’ll identify the merits and challenges of your case and map the path forward, offering realistic assessments of the likely timeline, costs and potential outcomes. If you need to post bail, we will explain available resources to make this possible.
- Case preparation: Our attorneys and staff at Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC, conduct research and discovery to gather the most compelling and necessary evidence. Our goal is to build the strongest legal approach for facing the prosecution and court makeup that you’re likely to face.
- Client preparation: Our attorneys will apply knowledge accumulated through previous cases similar to yours to help you avoid surprises. We emphasize thorough preparation based on our observations of successful defense cases over the years.
- Before the court: Most criminal law judges and prosecutors in this region have experienced the impact of our skillful, respectful mannerisms in the courtroom. We are confident that we can inspire confidence in you as we face a judge and possibly a jury together.
Defense Of Traffic Violation Charges
Virginia is serious about enforcing its strict rules on traffic violations. If you’ve been ticketed or arrested, appearing in court without an experienced lawyer increases the likely impact on your driving privileges and insurance premiums, and the fines and even jail time you could face. Attorneys at Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC understand what is at stake if you have been cited for any of the following:
- Speeding and other types of traffic tickets
- Reckless driving
- Hit-and-run offenses
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs
- Refusal to submit to a breath test after a DUI traffic stop
- Driving with a suspended driver’s license
We will work to help you preserve or recover your driving privileges and protect you from a damaging criminal record if at all possible.
Case Studies: Search Warrant Challenges
A successful defense strategy often entails customized strategies to match the circumstances. See the following discussion about search warrants for insights into the direction a case can go en route to justice.
A defendant in the Eastern District of Virginia challenged the search warrant executed in obtaining his cell phone which led to criminal charges for child pornography and kidnapping. In the case of United States v. Skinner, Case No. 3:19-cr-19, March 10, 2021. EDVA at Richmond (Lauck), a New Zealand citizen challenged a search warrant that precipitated his arrest on kidnapping and production of child pornography charges. This included a search of two cellphones and his Gmail account that produced evidence concerning his chats and contact with a 13-year-old girl with whom the defendant ultimately attempted to meet in Goochland, Virginia.
Challenging The Search Warrants
In attempting to challenge the search warrants, the defendant contended the cellphone warrant fails to meet the particularity requirement of the Fourth Amendment, and thus amounts to a general warrant. Skinner also argues that the scope of the cellphone warrant exceeded the probable cause available to officers and the magistrate judge at the time the magistrate judge issued the cellphones warrant. The court declined to the evidence seized by law enforcement.
The court ruled the search warrant affidavit established probable cause that evidence of child pornography, coercion and kidnapping would be found on the defendant’s cellphone. It identifies four criminal statutes that law enforcement suspected Skinner of violating. It then listed 10 categories of material to be searched for evidence of violations of those criminal statutes. These categories, rather than being overly broad, mirror the probable cause established by the Gonzalez affidavit and the cellphones warrant as a whole.
The defendant also challenged the search of his Gmail account, which the Court denied finding the Gmail warrants limited the 11 itemized subjects to be searched to identified federal offenses, the court finds that they meet the particularity requirement. Skinner protests that the Gmail warrants are broader than the cellphones warrant because they “authorized a wholesale seizure of the entire contents of the account, to be sifted by law enforcement.”
Court Maintains Its History Of Deference
The foregoing case is similar to the court’s ruling in the United States v Bosyk, Appeal No. 18-4302, Aug. 1, 2019. 4th Cir. (Diaz), in which Ashwell & Ashwell’s challenge to a search warrant application and affidavit prompted a split court decision upholding the search warrant and a nearly 100-page opinion which was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. The court maintains its history of deference toward debatable facts and occurrences in the record to the government in upholding potentially problematic search warrants.
How Might The Abovementioned Search Warrant Cases Relate To Your Defense Needs?
The lesson we can take from the search warrant cases discussed above is that every criminal case may take unexpected twists and turns. Our attorneys are ready to take cases to any state or federal court, including to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Whether your case is heard at a local, state or federal court, we will work hard on your behalf. Our goal is help you along the way to the most favorable outcome your case allows. Call 540-991-9100 or email us to request a meeting with an attorney without delay.