The Daily Process at Arlington County General District Court.
Court is stressful, so take off some of the stress by having your DUI / DWI or Reckless Driving Lawyer Arlington VA just explain to you what to expect on your Court date. Here are some items about the Arlington County General District Court.
Location: The Court is located at 1410 Courthouse Rd, Arlington, VA
Parking: Parking is tough. There is a small open air lot in front of the Court house with pay to park meters. This fills up fast. If you don’t get there well before Court, you will need to find street parking, which is also hard to find, or park in paid lots underneath nearby office buildings. The Court House Metro Stop is very convenient. It empties out about 200 years from the Court house.
Entry: The main entrance has only one screening device and metal detector operated by Arlington County Sheriffs. It is rarely crowded, so it should not take you long to get through it.
Computers, lap tops, hand held communication devices and cell phones: Arlington County Court does NOT allow any of these. So leave them in your car or at home. If you do bring them, bring some quarters. You can lock them up in a locker at the jail entrance. The jail is on the opposite side of the court yard from the Court entrance. In other words, when you walk into the court complex you will be walking in a court yard. On your right is the Court and on your left is the Jail.
Court room locations: Arlington Court is small compared to Fairfax County. After you go through security, go up the escalators to the third floor. The Traffic Court room is on your right, the DUI and Criminal Court room is on your left. The right court room handles all the Reckless Driving, Hit and Run, Speeding, Driving on a Suspended License, and other less serious Traffic Offenses. The left court room handles all criminal cases and DUI’s. The docket is posted outside of each court room on a t.v. screen. Look for your name and then confirm you are at the correct court room by looking to see the court room assignment by your name (e.g. “3C” means court room C on level 3.)
Location in the Court to meet your attorney: You should make arrangements as to where to meet prior to Court with your DUI / DWI or Reckless Driving Lawyer Arlington VA. We find it easier to meet in the hallway outside of the court room door about 15 minutes prior to the start of Court.
What happens in the court: Unlike most other jurisdictions, if your case is a DUI / DWI, the Prosecutor will have looked at the case prior to Court, and thus, your attorney can begin negotiations on a plea deal immediately upon arriving at Court. (Usually, the Prosecutor is not ready to discuss a plea agreement on any day prior to Court, but they are ready in the morning of the day of court.) As for Reckless Driving and other Traffic Offenses, the Prosecutor will have to talk to the Police Officer first so that the Prosecutor can hear the Police Officer’s side of the story. After that, the Prosecutor is ready to talk to your attorney. Lots of not so good lawyers walk into court with a whole stack of cases. This is not an effective way to represent someone. Sure, it saves the client money, but the results can be mediocre. A good DUI / DWI or Reckless Driving Lawyer Arlington VA will concentrate on only one serious case a day. Plea agreement offers get better later in the day when the Prosecutor is feeling the time crunch. So, if your attorney has 3 – 5 case files, that means he has to be in 2 – 4 other court rooms. Thus, he is likely to recommend the first plea deal a Prosecutor offers so he can go to help his other clients.
In Arlington, unlike most Courts, there is not a lot of sitting around. If your case resolves by a Plea Agreement, you can expect to be there only one hour. If it goes to a trial, you will usually be trying your case within an hour of the Court’s start time.
For a non – DUI / DWI or traffic charge in Traffic Court, if a Plea Deal can be negotiated, and if you accept the deal, then a plea agreement card will be written up, signed by the Prosecutor, Defense Attorney and you. It will be given to the Judge and the Judge in 99% of all cases will agree to enter that agreement. In the unlikely event that a Judge does not agree to a deal, then a new deal will have to be entered into or you will go to trial. For a DUI / DWI, there is not plea agreement form. You, your DUI Lawyer Arlington VA and the Prosecutor stand before the Judge and explain the deal. Your attorney should absolutely explain what rights you have and what rights you are giving up when you take a deal. If you do not accept a Plea Agreement, or if one is never offered by the Prosecutor, then your case will be tried that day. Your attorney can ask for a continuance, but it is not likely to be granted in Arlington.
Conclusion: Every Court is different, so make sure that your DUI / DWI or Reckless Driving Lawyer Arlington VA is experienced in Arlington County. I have been practicing law for 29 years and have been in the Arlington Court, on average, one day a week. So that would be over 1,500 appearances in Arlington County Court.