Criminal Law & Public Safety Passed Bills
As you are aware, in addition to my profession as a Criminal Lawyer Fairfax VA, I was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, serving as Chairman on the committee that writes all criminal laws. Here are the bills dealing with Criminal Procedure in 2017.
- Delay of appeals in criminal cases; assignment of errors dismissed in part. A person may file to pursue a delayed appeal in a criminal case in which the appeal was already dismissed fully or in parts. Provides that an appellant may file a motion for leave to pursue a delayed appeal in a criminal case in the Court of Appeals of Virginia when the appeal was dismissed, in whole or in part, for a failure to (i) initiate the appeal; (ii) adhere to proper form, procedures, or time limits in the perfection of the appeal; or (iii) file the indispensable transcript or written statement of facts, even if other parts of the appeal were refused on the merits. Under current law, an appellant may not pursue a delayed appeal in such a case if part of the appeal was refused on the merits. The bill also provides that an appellant may file a motion for leave to pursue a delayed appeal in a criminal case that is appealed to the Supreme Court of Virginia from the Court of Appeals of Virginia for those assignments of error that were dismissed because they did not adhere to a proper form, even if other assignments of error were refused on the merits. Appeals from Circuit Court to the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court are so complicated, that hiring a Criminal Attorney Fairfax VA is paramount. As introduced, this bill was a recommendation of the Judicial Council of Virginia
- Juror information; confidentiality. Limits to name and home address the personal information of a juror impaneled in a criminal case. The court may only regulate the disclosure of upon a showing of good cause, which includes a likelihood of bribery, tampering, or physical injury to or harassment of a juror. Criminal Attorney Fairfax VA sometimes seeks the identity of jurors for legitimate reasons, such as being able to talk to them after a trial to see if they had any helpful tips on how the attorney could be better. The bill limits the release of any additional personal information, defined in the bill as any information other than a name and home address, of a juror impaneled in a criminal case to the counsel of record in the case or a pro se defendant. The bill also provides that the court may, upon the motion of either party or its own motion, and for good cause shown, authorize the disclosure of such personal information to any other person, subject to any restrictions imposed by the court on further dissemination of such personal information.
- Transportation order for defendant held in correctional facility. There is often controversy between a Criminal Attorney Fairfax VA and the Prosecutor as to whose responsibility it is to get the Defendant from the jail to the Court. This law requires the court or clerk to issue the transportation of the defendant to be brought to the court from the correctional facility. Requires the court or clerk, upon request of the attorney for the Commonwealth or counsel for the defendant, to issue a transportation order for a defendant to be brought to court from a correctional facility.
- Presentence report; waiver by defendant. A court is required to have a probation officer create a presentence report upon conviction for certain felonies. Now the defendant and his Criminal Attorney Fairfax, VA and the attorney for the Commonwealth of Virginia may waive the report created by the probation officer. Expands from guilty to guilty or nolo contendere the pleas for which a court is required to direct a probation officer to create a presentence report upon conviction for certain felonies. The bill provides that upon a conviction or plea agreement for such felonies, the defendant and the attorney for the Commonwealth may waive the presentence report.
- Assault and battery against a family or household member; deferred deposition; waiver of appeal. This bill now says that if a person was found guilty of the conviction and agrees to probation and a deferred disposition of the charge has no right to an appeal if he is found guilty of the assault charge or violates their probation. A Criminal Attorney Fairfax, VA is very helpful in explaining what you are giving up when you agree to waive an appeal. A person may file a motion and then appear at the scheduled court date, if the person does not appear at the court date the court will deny the motion. Provides that a person charged with a first offense of assault against a family or household member who consents to probation and a deferred disposition of the charge has no right of appeal if he is subsequently found guilty of the original charge for a violation of the terms of his probation. The bill provides that a person my file a motion to withdraw his consent within 10 days of entry of the order deferring proceedings and the court shall schedule a hearing within 30 days of receipt of the motion. The bill provides further that if the person appears at the hearing and requests to withdraw his consent, the court shall grant the request, enter a final order adjudicating guilt, and sentence the person accordingly. If the person fails to appear at the hearing, the court shall deny the motion.
- Restitution; form order, enforcement, noncompliance; etc. Makes numerous changes related to the repayment of court-ordered restitution, including: (i) requiring the court to enter the amount of restitution, the date by which all restitution is to be paid, and the terms and conditions of repayment on a form prescribed by the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court; (ii) providing that docketing an order of restitution as a civil judgment does not prohibit the court from enforcing such order by any other available means; and (iii) requiring the clerk of every circuit and district court to submit quarterly reports to the attorney for the Commonwealth and any probation agency serving the locality listing (a) all defendants with outstanding balances of court-ordered restitution and (b) all accounts where more than 90 days have passed since such account was sent to collections and no payments have been made. As introduced, the bill was a recommendation of the Virginia State Crime Commission.
- Search warrants; customer records from financial institutions. This bill now provides that a search warrant for records of a customer that belongs to a financial institution or a place that provides credit reports or a credit card may be given by hand, mail, commercial delivery service, or other electronic means. This new bill requires the officer to file the search warrant in the circuit court office where the warrant was executed. No more requirement of a copy of the warrant to be filed where the search warrant was issued. Provides that a search warrant for records pertaining to a customer of a financial institution, money transmitter, commercial business that provides credit reports, or credit card issuer may be executed in the Commonwealth by hand, mail, commercial delivery service, facsimile, or other electronic means. The bill requires the executing officer to file the warrant in the circuit court clerk’s office where the warrant was executed within three days after receiving the ordered records. The bill eliminates the requirement that a copy of the warrant be filed where the warrant was issued for all search warrants. The bill provides that the search warrant will be considered executed in the jurisdiction where the entity on which the warrant is served is located. A Criminal Attorney Fairfax, VA will be able to analyze whether the search warrant was valid in the first place.
- Admissibility of business records; criminal proceedings. A person’s authentication and foundation is necessary to be given a business record with the exception to the rule against hearsay. Extends to criminal proceedings the existing procedures in civil proceedings for the authentication and foundation necessary for the admission of a business record under the business records exception to the rule against hearsay. This is very helpful for Criminal Attorney Fairfax, VA because it allows evidence to come into trial without having to hire experts of subpoena people.
- Assault and battery against a family or household member; eligibility for first offender status. This bill now allows a person who has been convicted of any felony defined as an act of violence from being eligible for the first offender status for assault and battery against a family or household member. This closes a loophole used by Criminal Attorney Fairfax, VA to get first offender treatment for client’s with past felony convictions. Unless the attorney may not allow the person to be placed under the first offense status. Precludes a person who has been convicted of any felony defined as an act of violence from being eligible for first offender status for assault and battery against a family or household member unless the attorney for the Commonwealth does not object to the person being placed on first offender status. Under current law, only prior convictions for assault and battery against a family or household member serve as a disqualifier.
- Search warrants; person subject to arrest. This new bill allows the authorization of a search warrant to search for and seize any person whom has a search warrant issued for them. Authorizes the issuance of a search warrant to search for and seize any person for whom a warrant or process for arrest has been issued. This bill is a recommendation of the Virginia State Crime Commission.
- Restitution; priority of payments. That when a defendant pays their court-ordered payments any money collected will be used first to pay off their restitution order and any costs associated with the order. Then the money will be used to pay off any other fines owed by the defendant. Provides that whenever a defendant owes court-ordered restitution payments, any money collected shall be used first to satisfy such restitution order and any collection costs associated with restitution prior to being used to satisfy any other fines or costs owed by the defendant.
- Collection of unpaid court fines, etc. This new bill expands on the collection of unpaid court fines, it increases the grace period for unpaid court fines, costs, forfeitures, penalties, and restitution this may be changed from 30 days to 90 days after the judgment. Your Criminal Attorney Fairfax VA should be able to explain the grace period. If you fail to pay after the grace period, your driver’s license could be suspended. This bill also requires the courts to give out installment plans for defendants who is unable to pay the fines, this will not be not be denied to a defendant because of the crime committed. Increases the grace period after which collection activity for unpaid court fines, costs, forfeitures, penalties, and restitution may be commenced from 30 days to 90 days after sentencing or judgment. The bill also establishes the requirements for deferred or installment payment agreements that a court must offer a defendant who is unable to pay court-ordered fines, costs, forfeitures, and penalties. The bill requires that a court take into account a defendant’s financial circumstances, including whether the defendant owes fines and costs to other courts, in setting the terms of a payment agreement, but such decision shall not be based solely on the amount of fines and costs owed. The bill fixes the maximum down payments that a court may require as a condition of entering a payment plan and provides that payments made within 10 days of their due date are timely made. The bill precludes a court from denying a defendant the opportunity to enter into a payment agreement solely because of the crime committed, the total amount owed or that such amount has been referred to collections, any previous default by the defendant or failure to establish a payment history, or the defendant’s eligibility for a restricted driver’s license. The bill allows all costs and fines owed by a defendant to any one court to be incorporated into one payment agreement and allows a defendant to request a modification of the terms of the agreement, which shall be granted upon a good faith showing of need. The bill requires a court to consider a request by a defendant who has defaulted on a payment agreement to enter into a subsequent agreement and requires the court to fix a down payment for subsequent payment agreements. Finally, the bill provides that the payment agreement includes restitution unless the court has entered a separate order regarding the payment of restitution.
- Two-way video testimony; forensic analysis and examination. This bill provides that any testimony by either party in a hearing, or by the accused in any other hearing other than a trial will be presented by two-way video conferencing. This bill allows that any decision to purchase a video or audio communication system is at the discretion of the locality. Provides that any testimony offered by either party in a preliminary hearing or sentencing hearing, or offered by the accused in any hearing other than a trial, from a person who performed an analysis or examination that resulted in a certificate of analysis may be presented by two-way video conferencing. The bill provides that any decision to purchase a two-way electronic video and audio communication system is at the discretion of the locality. This bill was designed to help Prosecutors, but it works both ways. If a Criminal Attorney Fairfax, VA has an expert from out of town, he can testify by video, thus saving travel and hotel costs.