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Effective Criminal Defense for All Charges


   Finding reliable representation, building your defense, and navigating the complex landscape of criminal law is a process no one should have to go through alone.  Being charged with a crime can be an overwhelming experience and it can be hard to know where to start.  From arrest and booking to your final appearance before the court, the process can be both stressful and scary.   You need an ally on your side who knows the criminal process, who knows the law, and who knows how to work to achieve the best possible outcome.

   I have the requisite combination of knowledge, tenacity and experience to best serve you in criminal matters.

   Experience is crucial because it gives an attorney an idea of how best to approach your charges.  The case presented by the prosecution often includes a mixture of eyewitness testimony, physical evidence, and circumstantial evidence which may be used in an attempt to prove your guilt.  Rebutting this evidence is critical to keeping a person out of jail.  I know how to examine the evidence and what steps you can take to dispute or exclude such evidence.  This helps me gauge a defendant’s chances for success.  This experience is invaluable when facing serious charges that can put your future in jeopardy.  


   Some of my practice areas include the following:


Drug Charges


   Possession of a controlled substance can be a very serious charge. Having or being near drugs like marijuana, crystal methamphetamine, PCP, cocaine, crack, heroin, and ecstasy can have penalties with life-changing consequences.  Being charged with manufacturing or selling these drugs, can be an even greater threat to your freedom.  I will work in an effective and efficient manner to help you successfully fight to keep these charges off your record.

Sexual Offenses

   Sexual offenses include a broad range of charges in Virginia law, which are all extremely serious. These crimes include the following:

  • Prostitution: Offering to, agreeing to, or engaging in sexual relations in exchange for money or payment, unless forced to do so, is the basis of a prostitution charge.  This is a class 1 misdemeanor in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

  • Indecent Exposure: The willful and obscene display of your genitals, buttocks, or breasts in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the basis of an indecent exposure charge. If you come into contact with the victim while engaging in this unwanted exposure, you may also face the additional crime of sexual assault.  This is a Class 1 misdemeanor and can subject you to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

  • Sexual assault: Unwanted sexual contact is the basis for a sexual assault charge. Depending on the nature of the contact, it may also result in a rape charge.

  • Rape: Forcing another person to engage in an unwanted sexual act or engaging in a sexual act without consent, including sex with a person unable to give consent due to intoxication or impairment, can result in a rape charge. Rape can also be a crime when it happens within a marriage, if the sexual encounter is not consensual.


   Sexual offense cases are very complex and involve many factors and a conviction can carry with it a stigma that lasts a lifetime. A person charged with a sexual offense needs an experienced and effective attorney.

   By their very nature, sexual offense crimes involve sensitive issues.  I can empathize with client’s difficulty in talking about sensitive subjects and pride myself on creating a compassionate atmosphere where you can speak openly so that we may work together to mount your best defense.

Juvenile Crimes

   In Virginia, those under eighteen can be charged as a juveniles. However, in serious matters, they may be tried as adults.  Juvenile crimes are heard in the Juvenile Court by a judge who will determine guilt and punishment.  Juvenile cases are handled differently than adult cases and they require an attorney knowledgeable of the juvenile justice system.  I have experience handling juvenile cases and will work not only to keep the juvenile out of detention, but on his or her way to becoming a productive adult.


DWI/DUI Offenses

   Those believed to be impaired while behind the wheel of a car are charged with a very serious crime: driving while intoxicated.  Whether under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, synthetic drugs, or prescription drugs, in Virginia you face serious consequences if you are found to be too impaired to drive a vehicle. If you have been convicted of DWI/DUI before or if impaired driving caused injury or death to another, the penalties you face are even more severe. You need to contact an effective and experienced DWI attorney immediately.  I will work to keep these penalties off your record, get your driver’s license back, and allow you to move forward with your life.

Other Intoxication Offenses

   If a person is intoxicated in public he or she can be charged with a crime.  If charged with being drunk in public, you will face a class 4 misdemeanor.  A separate but related charge, disorderly conduct, is a class 1 misdemeanor.   The defense of these charges requires an attorney experienced in handling intoxication-related offenses because having them on your record can haunt you for years to come.  I have successfully defended clients charged with these types of crimes.

Crimes Against Children

   Virginia’s laws deal very harshly with those convicted of crimes against children.  My office will handle your case with the care and compassion it deserves.  We have experience to help you effectively defend any of the following crimes against children:

  • Child Abuse:  If found guilty of engaging in cruelty or neglect to a child, you are subject to child abuse charges in Virginia.  Depending on the severity of the circumstances, you may be charged with a class 4 felony, which could result in incarceration for 10 years and  $100,000 fine.

  • Child Pornography:  Producing, possessing, or distributing lewd or explicit images of a minor subject you to child pornography charges.  A first-time offender faces a class 6 felony that may result in five years in prison and a $2,500 fine.  If you have a previous conviction, the charges may be a class 5 felony. If you are found to run a website that profits from the exploitation of children you may face a class 4 felony.

  • Computer Solicitation of a Child:  Those using sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Vine, or Instagram to solicit a child for sexual activity (or anyone who represents themselves as being under the age of eighteen), face charges of computer solicitation of a child.  The severity of these charges depends on the nature of the solicitation and any explicit material that may be sent to the minor.


   My office can provide the experience required to handle charges of this nature in effective and diligent manner.

Property Crimes

   Property crimes are unique because the victim is often very vocal and active throughout the course of the case. This sometimes frustrates chances of negotiating with the Commonwealth’s Attorney.  I understand the differences between handling property crimes and handling other criminal charges.  Let my office assist you or your loved one who has been charged with a property crime.

  • Arson:  Intentionally or recklessly setting fire to any structure, woods, grass, fences, or anything capable of spreading fire may result in an arson charge.

  • Burglary: Entering into a person’s home illegally with the intent to commit a crime, is the basis for a charge of burglary.  Burglary is a class 3 felony that can carry up to twenty years in prison.  If a deadly weapon was used during this crime, the charges can be raised to a class 2 felony.

  • Computer Crimes: Using a computer to access private information, commit fraud, interfere with another’s network, or any other nefarious activity involving a computer, is the basis for being charged with a computer related crime.   Knowledge of networking protocol layers, software and tool design and usage, social media-related crimes, and fundamentals of computer science help my office in identifying and evaluating relevant evidence in these cases.

  • Credit Card Theft and Forgery:  Illegally obtaining, using, buying, or selling another person’s credit card information or using a credit card knowing that it is expired or revoked is the basis for a criminal charge.  These charges can result in significant jail time and fines.

  • Identity Theft:  Obtaining a person’s private financial information, including his or her social security number, bank account number, password, fingerprint information, electronic signature, or other private identifier is the basis for an identity theft charge. These charges often accompany computer crime charges, but a person can also be charged by stealing a person’s wallet, purse, or credit card.


   These types of charges can be complicated.  I have defended many clients charged with property crimes and know how to defend them successfully.

Virginia Traffic Offenses

   Defending a traffic offense can be a hassle.  Based upon the nature of the offense, points may be added to your driver’s license and your insurance rates may increase.  These charges can become very expensive and you need an attorney who will get your charges reduced or dismissed.  A positive outcome can keep points off your license and keep you from having your license suspended or revoked.  I provide effective representation in all traffic offenses, particularly the following:

  • Driver’s License Reinstatement

  • Driving While Suspended or Revoked


  • Reckless Driving


Violent Crimes


   Being charged with a violent crime can seriously jeopardize your freedom.  These crimes can include the following:

  • Murder/Manslaughter: Taking another person’s life, is the basis for the charge of murder or manslaughter. The specific charge will be determined by whether the act was intentional or unintentional, whether your actions came from malice aforethought or in the heat of passion, and several other intent related factors.  Despite the charge, these crimes are very serious and you should have an attorney immediately.

  • Assault and Battery: Assault is the intentional creation of a reasonable apprehension in the mind of the victim of imminent bodily harm.  Brandishing a firearm, for instance, can be an assault.  Battery is intentional contact with a person with the intent to either injure or offensively contact that person.  

  • Carjacking:  If you take another’s vehicle using threats or force, you can be charged with carjacking.  Depending on the circumstances, you could face fifteen years to life in prison.

  • Kidnapping:  Taking a person from one place to another by force or confining a person against their will can result in kidnapping charges.  A kidnapping charge may also be placed if a non-custodial parent takes a child from a custodial parent.

  • Robbery and Theft:  Theft is the intentional act of taking something that is not yours.  Robbery is a threat of violence while committing theft.  These charges are very serious and can result in significant jail time, especially if you have a previous felony conviction.

  • Malicious Wounding: If you shoot, stab, or otherwise intentionally injure another person, you can face charges of malicious wounding.  This charge carries stiff penalties that depend on the exact nature of the crime.


   If you have or a loved one has been charged with a violent crime, contact my office for effective and efficient assistance from an attorney capable of handling violent crimes. Because the penalties for these crimes range from probation to capital punishment, you need the best legal representation possible.

White Collar Crimes

   Being charged with a white collar crime can have a serious impact on your freedom, as well as your career.  A conviction for a white collar crime may prevent you from obtaining or maintaining employment.  These charges can include bribery, embezzlement, forgery, perjury, money laundering, and extortion.  These crimes often require significant documentation to both prove and defend.  I am a thorough, detail-oriented attorney who has the tenacity to effectively and efficiently defend you or your loved one from these types of charges.  Some of the white collar crimes I defend include the following:

  • Bribery

  • Embezzlement

  • Extortion

  • Forgery

  • Money Laundering

  • Perjury

Other Offenses and Violations

   Some crimes may enhance the penalties  of many of the charges above.  Crimes such as aiding and abetting, conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, or stalking carry differing penalties depending on the nature of the crime.  Because these charges often accompany other charges, it is vital to employ a defense attorney who can defend your case as a whole and mitigate the threat from these secondary charges. I will ensure that these other offenses are defended against to preserve your liberty.  Here are other areas of legal representation that my office provides:

  • Accessory/Aiding and Abetting

  • Conspiracy

  • Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor

  • Habitual Offender

  • Stalking

Call today to discuss your case immediately with Attorney Stephanie Brooks Chadwell

     If you or someone you love is being investigated or has been charged with a criminal offense, Attorney Stephanie Brooks Chadwell can help. Call our office at (276) 346-0555 or e-mail us at to schedule an appointment. Our office serves southwest Virginia and Eastern Kentucky from our Jonesville, Virginia location.

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