Fairfax County (includes Vienna and Herndon Courts) rules on Continuances and Discovery in General District Court

Fairfax County (includes Vienna and Herndon Courts) rules on Continuances and Discovery in General District Court

A Traffic, DUI and Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax VA must know the Fairfax County Court procedures.  They are different than the other Northern Virginia Courts.  A Northern Virginia attorney must know the subtle differences between Arlington, Alexandria, Prince William and Loudoun.  Otherwise, his client could be hindered in his ability for a fair trial.   In this page, I will discuss Continuance Motions and Discovery procedures in Fairfax County.

First, let me explain continuances.  A continuance is a Motion requesting that a Court date be delayed to another day in the future.  You must have the Court’s permission to do so.  A continuance one time by either the Defendant or the Prosecutor is usually granted every time.  Courts and Prosecutors realize that attorneys have to balance the needs of many cases and that Defendants may not be able to go to the Court date that the Court on its own picked.  But subsequent continuances can be problematic, as the Courts are trying to manage their dockets.  Without “good cause shown” (such as being sick or drug laboratory results not being back yet) Judges will most often deny subsequent continuance requests.

As for Discovery, Virginia is out of the ordinary.  A Criminal Lawyer Fairfax VA is only entitled to get from the Prosecutor evidence that could show the Defendant is not guilty (such as a video of Field Sobriety Tests on a DUI arrest) or any statements made by the Defendant (such as a confession).  Most other states require a lot more.  This has been a bone of contention in the Virginia Legislature for years.  What most lawyers want is the police report and statements made by witnesses.  If a lawyer has access to those, the lawyer will be able to determine if he can win the case or if he needs to begin plea discussions.  But believe it or not, the law does not require the Prosecutor to give the lawyer for a Defendant a police report or witness statement.   Unfortunately, all bills to require the Prosecutor to give more, have been defeated.  The good news is that in recent years, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorneys have been willing to give Traffic, DUI and Reckless Driving Lawyers Fairfax VA access to the police reports.  That is why you want your attorney to have a good professional relationship with the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney office.

Fairfax County

Continuance:

  • Criminal misdemeanors by judge (file a continuance form) or
  • Felonies by judge w/Commonwealth’s Attorney’s consent (file a continuance form).
  • Traffic infraction: first request by clerk; second plus by judge (file a continuance form).
  • DUI – first request by clerk if agreed by Commonwealth (file a continuance form). Second plus and/or opposed by a prosecutor – by motion.
  • Traffic misdemeanors by judge (file a continuance form) or motion.
  • Motions are heard at 9:30am.

Motions should be filed if there is not enough time for the paperwork to pass through the Commonwealth’s Office, Judges’ Chambers, and clerk (at least 3-4 days prior to hearing).

Discovery:

  • Drop off a discovery order at the PROSECUTOR’s office.
  • Once it’s signed, file the original with a clerk.
  • For felonies, Prosecutorll the Commonwealth to arrange discovery in advance of the hearing (about 2 weeks prior).
  • For all other matters, discovery is provided at the time of the hearing.
  • For DUIs, first court hearing is discovery.

Fairfax City

  • Follows Fairfax County GDC procedures.
  • Email John Kassabian for discovery.