Loudoun General District Court – What to Expect in Criminal and Traffic Cases.
With serious felonies, Prosecutors look at their cases well in advance of court. But with Misdemeanor and Traffic cases, they won’t even crack open the file folder until 30 minutes prior to Court. Consequently, before you go to Court, your DUI / DWI – Reckless Driving – Criminal Lawyer Loudoun VA, will have had no contact with the Prosecutor. Your attorney will need to be well-prepared because all negotiations will be done quickly just prior to court or while Court is actually in session. In Loudoun, the Prosecutors wait in a small room just outside of the door to the actual Courtroom. If you are represented by an attorney, a Judge puts your case off to the side and will usually not call it until the Prosecutor or Defense attorney is present. While in the side room, your attorney and the Prosecutor will enter plea negotiations. If the Prosecutor presents a plea deal, your attorney will communicate it to you. You are the person who makes the final decision. Your attorney cannot. Your attorney presents the deal to you and you decide. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to take it. Rather, you can go to trial that morning. If plea negotiations fail, your attorney can ask for a continuance, but you should plan on having the trial that morning. Continuances are not always granted. Your experienced DUI / DWI – Reckless Driving – Criminal Lawyer Loudoun VA should know this and will be ready to go to trial that morning. Consequently, you may need to be prepared. Prior to Court, you need to have discussed with your attorney whether you should take the stand or not. And you should fully understand your Constitutional right not to testify and the advantages and disadvantages of testifying.
What happens after a Plea or Trial.
Prior to Court, you should discuss with your lawyer whether there is a reasonable likelihood of jail. If jail is levied after your trial, or if you accepted a plea agreement that includes jail, normally you would go straight from Court to jail that day.
If you get Plea Deal that you accept, and if that deal involves you doing some jail, you will start serving it immediately. Your attorney can ask for a delayed start time, but don’t expect that it will be granted. For example, if a Prosecutor agrees to drop a Felony in exchange for you pleading guilty to a Misdemeanor, he may want jail time in exchange. After all, a “Plea Deal” is a “deal” and both sides need to get something in a “deal.” If a Defendant could not do the jail on that day because he did not make arrangement with his employer or for child care, he may miss out on a great deal. An experienced DUI / DWI – Reckless Driving – Criminal Lawyer Loudoun VA should let his clients know to make plans for employment and child care.
Appeal! Even if you don’t like the Plea Bargain you accepted or if you go to trial and lose, you can get a brand new trial!
Virginia General District Court is not a final court. ALL decisions made by a General District judge can be tired brand new in Circuit Court via an appeal! Appeals are usually noted right in the General District Court room. However, they can be implemented after Court by going to the Clerk’s office within 10 days. After 10 days, the District Court ruling is final. Appealing is usually painless. A Judge will just extend the same rules of bail / bond as existed on the original charge. However, occasionally a stricter bond / bail is set. Then the Defendant is taken briefly into custody until he gets the terms of the bond satisfied. The case is then moved to the Circuit Court. In Circuit Court the trial is de novo (This is Latin for “completely new”) trial. The new trial is held and the original trial is ignored, like it never happened. Even if a Defendant pleads guilty, an appeal can still be noted. Appeals should not be taken lightly, though. Be sure to discuss it at length with your DUI / DWI – Reckless Driving – Criminal Lawyer Loudoun.