Questions for Defense Attorneys
At Taylor Law Company, we understand once you are accused of a crime, you will have many questions about your rights, potential outcomes, and the process involved with your case. Not knowing where to turn for accurate answers can be overwhelming. You do not have to wonder about these questions any longer because the dedicated lawyers at Taylor Law Company want to help you every step of the way. We have answered frequently asked questions with informative, detailed responses to provide some clarity to our potential clients. Whether you are facing weapon charges in Fairfax or drug possession charges in Fairfax, VA, Taylor Law Company is here to help you and your family.
If you still have unanswered questions or would like additional information about a particular legal topic, you can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. Give us a call at (703) 385-5529 to speak with a domestic violence attorney in Fairfax, VA, today.
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My attorney says they can take care of my arraignment without me going but my bondsman said I had to go to all court dates. Who should I trust?
When a bondsman helps post your bond they give you conditions to abide by as terms of posting the bond for you. One of those conditions of bond for the court and the bondsman is that you appear at all court dates. However, some counties allow an attorney to handle your arraignment for you if you have already hired an attorney. This saves you from going to court. Your attorney will know if the county where you are charged will waive your appearance at arraignment.
What happens if I appeal my case that is heard in General District or Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court?
When you note an appeal on a case in any of the District Courts in Virginia, it takes away the conviction that you have and you start fresh in the Circuit Court. You will have a new Judge, a new trial, and perhaps even a new Commonwealth Attorney. You can choose a trial in front of the Judge or a Jury (you do not have this option in the District Court down below). If you pick a Jury and are found guilty you will be responsible for the costs of the Jury. Also when you appeal, your court costs can be higher as you have to pay the costs of District and Circuit Court if you are found guilty.
How do I pick the right attorney for me?
When people ask me this question, I tell them that they need to go with the person who they feel is the best fit for them. You need to make sure you are comfortable discussing private or difficult issued that may arise in your case. You should be able to communicate effectively with the attorney as well as understand when they explain the process and information to you. If you cannot reach your attorney or they never return calls, that is not someone you want either. Finally, you should want someone who has experience with your type of case and in the jurisdiction where you are charged. At the end of the day you are relying on someone else to help get you the best result possible and you are putting your trust in that person. If you do not feel confident they are doing all they can for you, then that attorney may not be the best one for you and you should consult with some more attorneys.
When will my case be heard in court?
In some counties there is an arraignment date where you appear before the Judge. The Judge asks you whether you plan to hire an attorney, apply for a court appointed attorney to see if you qualify, or waive your right to an attorney. The Judge will also set your trial date or remind you of the trial date if one has already been set by the Magistrate. In other counties the first court date may be your trial date as some jurisdictions do not set a separate arraignment date. Most jurisdictions set cases fairly quickly in the General District and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts so your court date is usually about a month or so from when you are charged. Of course, sometimes there are continuances granted for either side. However, some counties limit the amount of cases they set on the docket and will set your case out farther than a month or so.
Regardless of which way your case gets set for trial, that date is where you can present evidence in your case and have your attorney question the Commonwealth Attorneys witnesses. You always need to be prepared for the trial date that is set because that is the date the Judge expects both sides to be prepared and ready to present their evidence.
How long will my trial last?
Trial for a criminal or traffic case is heard on the date your case is set. In most counties, the Judges take care of the motions and pleas first before they get to the trials. Depending on how busy the court is that day, you could be there for a couple hours or all day. Unless your case is set in the Circuit Court where trials can last days, your case will be resolved the same day both for trial and or sentencing of that applies to your case.
How can I get a charge expunged off my record?
Virginia law only allows for you to have a charge expunged if you meet certain criteria. You must either have been found not guilty on your charge or if your charge was nolle prosequi or dismissed some other way that would qualify. You cannot get your charge expunged if you have done a first offender agreement for dismissal or if you have been found guilty of the offense. If your situation does not fall under these criteria then you are most likely not eligible for expungment. You should consult an attorney at Taylor Law Company who can review your circumstances and provide an explanation on whether you qualify for the expungement process.
I have to appear at an arraignment. Can you explain what is going to happen when I appear at the arraignment?
This is a hearing where the Judge will inform you of your right to an attorney and then set your trial date. The Judge will give you three options for obtaining an attorney 1) Hire your own attorney 2) Apply for a court appointed attorney 3) waive your right to an attorney. In some jurisdicitions the Magistrate has already set your trial date and you are only appearing at the arraignment to be advised of your right to an attorney. In other jurisdictions there is no separate arraignment and it will be done at your first court appearance. Some jurisdictions will let you waive your appearance at the arraignment if you have hired an attorney and they have entered their appearance as your attorney before the arraignment date.
Is there ever a time I would need to use a bondsman?
When you get charged with an offense you will either go before a Magistrate or Judge who will consider bond for you. If you are given a Personal Recognizance bond then you do not have to pay any money to be released. You will only owe money to the Commonwealth of Virginia if you fail to appear in court. If you are given a secured bond it means you need to pay to be released and you can do this in one of two ways. You can either pay the amount in full and then get the full amount back at the end of your case or you can get a bondsman. You would pay a bondsman a percentage (typically up to 10%) and then the bondsman will post the full amount for you to be released. You will not get a refund on the percentage paid to the bondsman.
What is the difference between a misdemeanor or felony charge?
Virginia has misdemeanor and felony offenses. There are different classes of each and they carry various penalties depending on which class misdemeanor or felony the charge you have carries. Misdemeanors are less serious than felony charges and carry a maximum of 1 year in jail.
Can a lawyer appear for me in my court?
Maybe. In some jurisdictions of you have an attorney your appearance at the arraignment can be waived. For your trial date you can only have an attorney appear for you if the attorney has filed a motion with the Judge and gotten permission for you to be excused from court. You will also have to sign a form authorizing the attorney to appear for you in court. Some jurisdictions allow an attorney to appear for you on some charges like Reckless Driving so call us and we can advise you about the county where you are facing a charge.