Being charged with a crime can be an overwhelming experience. From the day that you’re arrested, it’s critical to have an advocate and ally on your side. Tom Carter knows the law, knows the process, and knows the judicial system allowing him to fight for your best outcome.

Tom Carter, a partner with Redmon, Peyton & Braswell, L.L.P. successfully combines criminal defense expertise and 40 years of experience with productive relationships with Virginia law enforcement. Unlike most other attorneys, Tom focuses exclusively on criminal defense, DUI, and traffic defense which ensures his clients receive the best legal representation possible when caught up in the judicial system.

This expertise, experience and familiarity with the court system is important because it informs Tom’s every move. Evidence presented by the prosecution often consists of a mixture of eyewitness testimony, physical evidence and circumstantial evidence. Rebutting this evidence is vital to keeping a person out of jail. An experienced attorney knows exactly how to examine the evidence, knows experts who can offer their opinion and testimony, and knows a defendant’s chances for success. This experience is invaluable when facing serious charges that can jeopardize your future.

Criminal Defense Attorney

what to look for in a criminal defense lawyer

The internet is packed with lawyers sporting 5-star reviews and glossy websites. How do you cut through the marketing to help you select the best criminal lawyer for your case?

1. Prioritize expertise and experience. Criminal Defense Law is a specialized subset of law-making expertise and experience highly valuable. With over 40 years of experience, Tom Carter has handled over 1,500 criminal cases including charges of fraud, manslaughter, and other criminal accusations.

2. Select a “Lawyer’s Lawyer.” If a lawyer is charged with a criminal offense, who would they hire for the best possible defense? They look for someone like Tom Carter, with deep expertise and experience in criminal defense law. Approximately 50% of Tom Carter’s cases are referrals from other lawyers.

3. Trust independent reviews. Lawyer reviews like AVVO, Martindale-Hubbell, and SuperLawyers have earned a reputation of independence and accuracy. 

Tom’s practice areas include the following:

Drug Charges

Possession of a controlled substance can be a very serious charge. Possessing drugs like marijuana, crystal meth, PCP, cocaine, crack, heroin, and ecstasy can have penalties with life-changing consequences. If you are charged with manufacturing or selling these drugs, you face an even greater threat to your liberty. A skilled criminal defense attorney can fight to get these charges dismissed or reduced. 

Sexual Offenses

Sex offenses comprise a broad range of charges in Virginia law, all of which are very serious. Tom Carter has represented many individuals charged with the sex offenses described below: 

  • 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 marriage if the sexual encounter is not consensual.
  • Sexual Assault: Unwanted sexual contact is punished with a sexual assault charge. Depending on the nature of the contact, it may also result in a rape or an assault charge.
  • Sex Crimes Against Children: Alleged crimes of sexual abuse or sexual assault against a minor are pursued vigorously by prosecutors. Such cases require the expertise of an attorney who regularly represents individuals charged with crimes of this nature.
  • Prostitution: If you offer to, agree to, or engage in sexual relations in exchange for money or payment, you can be charged with prostitution. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2500.
  • Indecent Exposure: If you willfully and obscenely display your genitals, buttocks, or breasts in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you may be charged with indecent exposure. Like prostitution, indecent exposure is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense.

Sex offense cases are complex and particularly stressful. Additionally, a conviction can carry with it a stigma that lasts a lifetime. Registration as a Sex Offender is often required. Anyone charged with a sex offense should contact an experienced attorney immediately.

Juvenile Crimes

In Virginia, individuals under the age of eighteen are ordinarily charged as a juvenile. However, for serious charges, they may be charged as an adult. Juvenile charges are handled in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court.  Because juvenile charges are handled differently than adult charges, juveniles require attorneys familiar with the juvenile justice system. Tom Carter has extensive experience handling these cases and will work to mitigate or dismiss the charges.

DWI/DUI Offenses

If you are unlucky enough to get caught driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence you need a lawyer.  Whether it’s alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription drugs, the Commonwealth will prosecute you for DUI.  Even a first offense DUI results in substantial punishment. There are no diversion programs available in Virginia like there are in Maryland and DC. Tom Carter has handled more than 2000 DUI cases so far in his career and will work to get the charges dismissed or reduced.


Alcohol is prevalent in society, but if a person gets drunk in public they can be charged with a crime. If you are charged and convicted of being drunk in public, you will have a permanent criminal record.  A separate but related charge, disorderly conduct, is a class 1 misdemeanor. Both charges are serious and require attorneys experienced in handling alcohol-related offenses. Tom Carter has successfully defended hundreds of clients charged with these types of crimes. 

Property Crimes

Property crimes involve a real, live victim who may be very determined to press for a conviction and a harsh sentence.  A vocal victim can throw a wrench into negotiations with the prosecutor. You need a lawyer who is familiar with the court and the prosecutor and who is creative in order to get these charges dismissed or reduced. The most common property crimes are shoplifting, trespassing and destruction of property. All are good candidates for dismissal if handled properly. However, the following charges are far more serious and are likely to be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible:

  • Arson: Intentionally or recklessly setting fire to any structure, woods, grass, fences, or anything capable of spreading fire can result in arson charges.
  • Burglary: If you enter into a person’s home illegally with the intent to commit a crime, you can be found guilty of burglary. This 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 will be raised to a class 2 felony.
  • Computer Crimes: If you use a computer to access private information, commit fraud, interfere with another’s network, or any other nefarious activity involving a computer, you can be charged with a computer related crime. 
  • 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 can result in criminal charges. These charges can result in significant jail time and fines depending on the nature of the crime.
  • Identity Theft: Obtaining a person’s private financial information, including his or her social security number, bank account number, passwords, fingerprint information, electronic signature, or other private identifiers can result in identity theft charges. These charges often accompany computer crime charges, but one can also be charged by stealing a person’s wallet, purse, or credit card.

Virginia Traffic Offenses

Traffic offenses can range from mere infractions to misdemeanors to felonies. Depending on the nature of the offense, points may be assessed against your license and your insurance rates may go up. Because these charges can have serious consequences, you need to consult a lawyer for advice about how best to proceed.  Tom provides legal expertise in all traffic offenses, particularly the following:

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Reckless Driving (R/D)
  • Driving on Suspended or Revoked

Violent Crimes

Being charged with a violent crime is a serious threat to your freedom. These include the following:

  • Murder/Manslaughter: If you take another person’s life without just cause, you will be charged with murder or manslaughter. The severity of the charges will be determined by whether it was intentional or unintentional, whether your actions came from malice aforethought or in the heat of passion, and other factors involving intent. No matter what the charge, these crimes are extremely serious and require an attorney right away.
  • 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, is assault. Battery is intentional contact with the victim with the intent to either injure or offensively contact. These crimes are  serious and can result in significant jail time.
  • Carjacking: if you take another’s vehicle using threats or force, you can be charged with carjacking. Depending on the circumstances, you can face fifteen years to life in prison.
  • Kidnapping (Abduction): Taking a person from one place to another by force or confining a person against their will can result in kidnapping charges. This can also occur 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.
  • Malicious Wounding: If you shoot, stab, or otherwise intentionally injure another person, you can face charges of malicious wounding. These charges carry stiff penalties that depend on the exact nature of the crime.

These charges require an attorney well-versed in 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. If you are convicted of these crimes, it may prevent you from working professionally ever again. These charges can include bribery, embezzlement, forgery, perjury, money laundering, and extortion. These offenses often require significant paperwork to prove and defend. You need a thorough, detail-oriented attorney who has the tenacity to successfully defend you or your loved one from these types of charge. Tom Carter has extensive experience defending white collar crime charges in both the state and federal courts of Virginia.

Federal Crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia

Being charged in the United States District Court can be a serious matter. Because the federal government has nearly unlimited resources to devote to these cases, these charges require attorneys who practice regularly in federal court. Many of these federal prosecutions involve DUI or R/D offenses committed on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir or Fort Myer. Tom Carter has defended hundreds of clients in federal court so he has the necessary experience. If you have been charged with a federal offense, contact Tom right away.

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 divergent penalties depending on the nature of the crime. Because these charges often accompany other charges, it is vital to find a defense attorney who will defend your case as a whole and mitigate the threat from these secondary charges. Here are other areas of legal representation provided:


  • Accessory/Aiding and Abetting
  • Conspiracy
  • Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor
  • Habitual Offender
  • Stalking

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