What to expect when you have a Criminal Cases in Alexandria, Virginia
Our Law Office is located directly next to the Alexandria City Courthouse. The Courthouse is located at 520 King Street, Alexandria, Virginia. The Alexandria Virginia Courthouse includes the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, General District Court, and Circuit Court. Read below on what to expect when you have a Criminal Case in Alexandria, Virginia.
Alexandria Criminal Process
Criminal Cases in Alexandria, Virginia start either when you are arrested or given a summons to appear in court. A summons is simply a piece of paper that requires you to come to court to answer for your charge at a hearing in the courthouse. Your summons will have critical information such as officer’s name, your next court date, your charge, and location of the courthouse. The officer or trooper issuing the summons will ask you to sign the summons to acknowledge you received it. Typically you will receive summons without an arrest for certain types of misdemeanors such as reckless driving, disorderly conduct, trespass, and drunk in public.
If your charge is more serious, the officer will take you into custody or arrested instead of just a summons. Once you are arrested, the officer will take you you to the police station in the Alexandria Detention Center and in front of a magistrate. The magistrate is a judicial official who will issue warrants for arrest and make the initial finding about whether to release you on bond. Charges that result in arrests can include DUI, Larceny, and any serious drug charges.
Will you get bond if you are arrested?
A magistrate will look at several factors when deciding whether to grant bond. They include nature of the charge, your criminal history, your employment status, ties to the area. If you meet these factors, the magistrate may release you solely on your promise to appear at trial. If you have been in trouble before—especially if you have failed to appear for a court date before—or if the charge is more serious, then you may have to post a cash bond or submit to some other conditions before you will be released.
Finally, if you pose a threat to the community, if you are a flight risk, or if another jurisdiction has a detainer on you, then the magistrate may not release you. If that happens, you need to contact a Virginia criminal defense attorney right away who can file for bond for you.
What happens after I am arrested or given a summons?
If you are arrested and released or given a summons, the officer will give you a date to return to court–usually just a few days following your arrest in Alexandria. Make sure to show up on that date and time. If you do not, there are several potential consequences. They include losing any bond you posted, an additional charge of Failure to Appear, and a bench warrant for your arrest.
What generally happens at a first appearance in a misdemeanor case?
Yours will not be the only case. You will be waiting with many others. If you have not hired an attorney at this point, you will have to wait in the courtroom until the judge calls your case. At that point, the judge will tell you your charges and your right to an attorney.
The judge will then give you a court date at which to appear with your attorney. You should find an attorney right away, do not wait until a week before your next court date. You can also ask for a court-appointed attorney if you cannot afford one.
What if my case is a felony case?
Felony cases are more complex. If your case is a felony case, your first court date will usually be an arraignment, which will be similar to a first appearance on a misdemeanor.
After that you will have a preliminary hearing date. You should retain an attorney immediately upon being charged with a felony to allow your counsel sufficient time to prepare your defense.
If you do not waive the preliminary hearing, and you usually should not, the prosecutor will try to put on enough evidence for a judge to find “probable cause” that you committed the felony crime you are charged with. If the judge finds probable cause, the case will then go to a grand jury for indictment. If the grand jury returns an indictment as a “true bill,” then the case will proceed to Circuit Court.
After the case proceeds to a grand jury, and if an indictment is issued, then a trial date will be selected.
Schedule a Consultation
If you have a criminal or civil case in Alexandria, contact the office today to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney.