criminal defense

What Are the Most Common Criminal Defenses in Virginia?

If you face a criminal charge in Virginia, you may be wondering what you can do about it. You might feel scared or concerned about your future. Whether you face a misdemeanor or a felony, your future is at risk. Remember though, there are multiple criminal defenses that may help you avoid criminal punishment or reduce the charges against you.

Our Manassas criminal defense lawyers at Battlefield Law Group PLLC explain the most common criminal defenses in Virginia and how they may help you.

Common Criminal Defenses in Virginia

The point of a criminal defense is to challenge the evidence against you, or challenge the illegal procedural errors committed by law enforcement. The prosecutor has to prove your doubt beyond a reasonable doubt. You may be not guilty of the crime, or a lesser offense may be more appropriate.

Each criminal case is unique, but the following defenses may help in your situation:


A strong defense may show that you were innocent of the accusations against you. You might be able to show:

  • Another person committed the crime
  • The crime did not occur
  • A witness was untruthful 


Eyewitness identifications are often inaccurate. People believe what they want to see, including when saying you committed a crime. You might look similar to the real perpetrator and be falsely accused of the crime.

Sadly, this is especially true when the victim and alleged perpetrator are different races. People commonly misidentify people based on these mistaken and racially-based assumptions.


If you were coerced or threatened into committing the crime, you may have been under duress. This means you admit the conduct but that you had no choice but to do so. This may apply if you were forced to commit a crime under threat of serious physical harm or death.


People are allowed to use reasonable force to defend themselves from an attack. You must show that you used a reasonable amount of force to defend yourself, and that you did so because of a reasonable fear of imminent bodily harm or death. 


An alibi is evidence you provide that you could not have been at the scene of the crime. For example, video evidence might demonstrate you were at a basketball game while the crime occurred. Instead, eyewitness testimony may help demonstrate that you were elsewhere when the crime happened.

Failure to Provide Miranda Warnings

Law enforcement are required to provide you Miranda warnings in many situations, especially before conducting any criminal interrogation. If law enforcement failed to follow the appropriate steps, your statements may be inadmissible in court. This could prevent the prosecutor from proving the case against in some instances.

Filing a Suppression Motion

A suppression motion seeks to exclude unconstitutionally collected evidence. Law enforcement must respect your fourth amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, for example. Violations of your constitutional rights may invalidate any evidence that stems from that unlawful conduct and keep it out of court.


This defense may apply if you are unable to comprehend the wrongfulness of your actions because of a mental illness or other defect. This requires assessments by professionals and strong proof that you cannot distinguish between right or wrong, among several other factors.

Challenging Field Sobriety Tests

If you face a Virginia DUI, you may have been through field sobriety tests. These tests are notoriously inaccurate and may produce inconsistent results. A criminal defense attorney can challenge the officer’s observations or how they conducted the tests.

Statute of Limitations

Many crimes have a statute of limitations. This is a time limit by which the prosecutor must bring charges or they are no longer valid. If your case was filed after this time limit passed, it will likely be dismissed.

Defend Your Case With a Manassas Criminal Defense Attorney

At Battlefield Law Group PLLC, we provide customized legal defenses that fit your unique case. Our team knows the impact a criminal conviction can have. 

We do everything within our power to dismiss or reduce the charges against you. Contact us today for a free consultation.