What to expect in Prince William General District Court for Criminal and Traffic Cases.
Other than very serious felonies, most Prosecutors do not even look at cases until 30 minutes prior to Court. This is because they have many cases going on at any one time. However, in Prince William, the Prosecutors’ office is adequately staffed, and the Prosecutors look at the criminal cases and the DUI cases prior to court. Thus, prior to Court, your DUI / DWI – Reckless Driving – Criminal Lawyer Prince William VA, should probably already have been working on the case with the Prosecutor. This does not mean that a deal should already have been done! Just that the Prosecutor and your attorney have likely engaged in discussions prior to Court. In Prince William, the Prosecutors wait in a side room along with the Police. You will most likely go and sit in the Court room. Your case will not be called. The Judge generally sets aside all cases with attorneys and only brings these cases up when the attorneys are actually in the Court room. As stated above, the Prosecutor and your attorney will engage in plea negotiations in the side room. If the Prosecutor offers a deal, your attorney must bring it to you. Only you can accept the deal or reject it. If you reject it, then a trial will occur that morning. In other courts, when no plea deal is agreed upon, defense attorneys will ask for continuances so they can prepare for trial. NOT in Prince William. Judges rarely give continuances. Plan on having your trial then and there. Thus, a well prepared DUI / DWI – Reckless Driving – Criminal Lawyer Prince William VA will be ready for trial. Before Court, you should have discussed with your lawyer whether you will be testifying and if so, go over your testimony and what types of questions the Prosecutor may ask you on cross examination. Also in those discussions, your attorney should advise you that you have the Constitutional Right not to testify. And he/she should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of testifying and not testifying.
What to expect after your Plea or Trial.
Before you go to Court, you should know whether there is a reasonable likelihood of jail. This is because if jail is given after a trial, or if you accept a plea agreement that involves jail, you should expect to go straight from court into the jail. The Prince William Jail (Detention Center) web site will explain what you can have in jail, visiting hours, etc. https://sheriff.Prince Williamva.us/detention-facility/
You should be aware that if you do get a Plea Bargain that you like, if as part of that bargain you get jail, you will begin it right then and there. It is possible to ask for a delayed turn in time, but that is not routinely given. I have only had luck in getting delayed turn in where my client was a single Mother and had to make child care arrangements. Let me give you an example, if you accepted a Plea Bargain where the Prosecutor dropped a Felony to a Misdemeanor, but in exchange wanted some jail, you may want to take that. Getting off a Felony is a huge accomplishment. But the Prosecutor will want something in exchange for dropping the Felony, and often that “something” is jail. When I was a Prosecutor, I often told Defense Attorneys, “.If I drop the serious charge and allow your your client only be found guilty of a lesser charge, I should get something in exchange. The term “Plea Bargain” uses the word “bargain” and I should get something in exchange. So I want jail…” If the Defendant did not expect jail and turns this deal down, then the Defendant will likely get the serious conviction on his record. Thus, your DUI / DWI – Reckless Driving – Criminal Lawyer Prince William VA should let you know to make plans for child care and work.
If you lost a trial or decide that you don’t like the Plea Bargain you accepted, what can you do? Appeal!
General District Court in Virginia is not a final court. ANY decision made in General District can be appealed! So if you don’t like the result of your case, just note your appeal. This is usually done right in the Court room, but can be done after Court in the Clerk’s office if you file it within 10 days. After 10 days, the General District Court ruling is final. Usually, the Judge will just let you come back under the same terms as your original charge, but if the Judge wants a stricter bond / bail, then you would go into custody briefly until you can get the new terms of the bond arranged. The case is transferred to the Circuit Court. In this Court you get a de novo (Latin for “new”) trial. This means that the trial proceeds as if the original trial never happened. So, even if you plead guilty, you can still appeal. If you want to appeal, be sure to review it with your DUI / DWI – Reckless Driving – Criminal Lawyer Prince William VA. While an appeal can result in a better outcome, since it is a new trial, it can also result in the same or worse outcome.