Prince William County rules on Continuances and Discovery in General District Court

Prince William County rules on Continuances and Discovery in General District Court

We work in all Northern Virginia Courts (including Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun, among others.)   There are differences in each Court on how the Court is run.  A Traffic, DUI or  Reckless Driving Lawyer Prince William needs to know how the local Court works!

This article talks about the differences in Continuance and Discovery procedures.  When an attorney of a defendant cannot make the pre-set court date, then a Motion for a Continuance needs to be filed.   Unlike other jurisdictions, in Prince William, you must have the Court’s permission to do so.  A continuance will not be granted at the Clerk’s office.  You have to put a special motion on.  It is an unwritten rule that a continuance will be granted one time for the Defendant or the Prosecutor.  But multiple continuances are frowned upon.  Without a good reason (such as sickness or laboratory tests not being completed) Motions for Continuances will often be denied.

Discovery is the information that the Prosecutor is required to give a defendant or his attorney prior to the trial.  Virginia is very stingy on discovery.  A Traffic, DUI, or Reckless Driving Lawyer Prince William VA is only entitled to evidence of innocence (such as witnesses who say that the defendant did not do the crime) and all statements made by the accused (such as an admission of guilt).  Most other states give defendants a great deal more.  This has been a huge controversy in the Virginia General Assembly over the years.  When I represent a client, I most desire the police report and witness testimony.  If I can acquire this, I can better determine if my case is a winner or if I need to negotiate a plea to best protect my client.  However, in Virginia, the law does not require a Prosecutor to give the attorney or the defendant the police report or witness statements!  Fortunately, some Prosecutors will these out of a sense of fairness. Here is what a good DUI, Traffic or Reckless Driving Lawyer Prince William will need to know for representing clients in Prince William:

Continuance:

  • All continuances done by motion. An order must be submitted.
  • Motions are heard at 8:30am.

Discovery:

  • A motion and order must be filed. Motions are heard at 8:30am. PROSECUTOR’s office usually mails the discovery for misdemeanors.  For felonies, discovery must be done in person.
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