Overview of Virginia Justice System
In Virginia, if you are charged with a misdemeanor offense, your case will be tried in either the General District Court or the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. These courts are the trial courts for a misdemeanor. If the charge is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, the charge can result in a jail sentence of up to twelve months and a fine of up to $2,500. You can also be ordered to complete probation or attend counseling. If you are convicted in the General District Court or the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, you have the right to appeal and have another trial in the Circuit Court.
If you are charged with a felony in Virginia, your case will likely ultimately be resolved in the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court is the trial court for a felony offense. The Circuit Court is the court where you have the ability to exercise your constitutional rights to a trial by jury. Also, felony plea agreements are entered in the Circuit Court. If you are arrested on a felony warrant in Virginia, your case will begin in the General District Court or Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. The lower courts make initial determinations on bond and determination on whether a case is certified to the Circuit Court.
There are different classes of felonies in Virginia, but all felonies carry the possibility of a prison sentence, fine, and probation. Felony convictions also result in the loss of some constitutional rights, including the right to vote and the right to possess a firearm.
Because of the serious consequences of a criminal conviction it is important that you have an experienced attorney. During my career, I have represented individuals charged with serious offenses, including Murder, Manslaughter, Rape, Distribution of Drugs, Robbery, and other serious and violent offenses.