This new change is for several reasons, but a large one is that as body camera usage becomes more prevalent, prosecutors (and defense attorneys) have significantly more evidence to review. Attorneys are required to review all of the evidence in each of their cases. When body cameras are involved, each camera can easily record up to an hour of footage, even for simple cases. If multiple officers arrive, each camera’s footage must be reviewed. This adds up, especially in a big county like Fairfax.
Accordingly, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office will not be prosecuting certain Fairfax County misdemeanors in the General District Court.
What does this mean?
First, all misdemeanors in Fairfax County WILL BE PROSECUTED.
While the Commonwealth’s Attorney will not be involved, other misdemeanors, such as Reckless Driving, will be prosecuted by the arresting Officer themselves.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney has a list of the misdemeanor cases that they will be prosecuting here. These include domestic related charges, traffic charges involving a fatality, DWIs, and select others.
In cases where the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office is not involved, you are not getting off easy. These cases will be prosecuted by the arresting Officer, who is less likely to negotiate or “go easy” on cases. They may even lack the authority to make certain reductions or agreements that a Commonwealth’s Attorney would be able to make.
If you have been charged with a Misdemeanor in Fairfax County you should contact our attorneys, Farheena Siddiqui and Brian Szmak. It will take some time for everyone involved to learn the ‘new normal’ in these misdemeanor cases, and having an experienced attorney by your side can help.