For over a decade and a half, Jon Katz has been defending misdemeanor, felony and DWI clients charged in the Alexandria, which borders on Jon’s home county of Fairfax, Viriginia. The Alexandria state-level courthouse should not be mistaken with the Alexandria federal courthouse around two miles away, where Jon also practices.
Alexandria is small in geographic size, but its courthouse is busy as a result of its bordering Arlington and Fairfax and being across the National Harbor; the many office buildings; the numerous people visiting its waterfront on the Potomac and other entertainment areas; and the many drivers using the Capital Beltway, Route 395, and routes to Mount Vernon.
Alexandria City’s population includes plenty of government employees and people of wealth, and its jurors are generally not likely to start off as skeptical of police, prosecutors and their functions. Routinely, criminal defendants opt for bench trials rather than jury trials in Alexandria.
Alexandria General District Court misdemeanor and DWI cases start off with an arraignment date soon after the incident date. As with most Virginia counties, a defendant can avoid attending the arraignment by in advance hiring a lawyer who enters an appearance in the case. Before the arraignment date, the defendant’s lawyer can check with the prosecutor’s office to agree on a trial date. If an agreed trial date cannot be reached, the matter may be addressed with the judge.
The Alexandria prosecutor’s office generally is efficient at getting the discovery in its possession — that it is willing to share — early on to criminal defense lawyers at their request, so long as the lawyer reviews the discovery at the prosecutor’s office.
Commonly the first trial date can be continued on that date in General District Court.
Alexandria Circuit Court criminal procedural information can be found here.
Visitors to the Alexandria City courthouse are permitted to bring cellphones into the courthouse, which is the opposite of the Alexandria federal courthouse, which even bars attorneys from bringing cellphones. Cellphone ringtones and vibrators should be turned off while in the courtroom, and people should not use cellphones in the courthouse for taking any videos, photos, or audio recordings.
The Alexandria courthouse can be reached by car, the Metro (taking a pleasant walk from the King Street Metro stop), and bus. If taking the Capital Beltway to the courthouse, take the local lanes or else you will miss the exits to the courthouse. Parking may be found in nearby parking lots. For visits up to one hour, plentiful street parking usually is found within a several block distance of the courthouse. Be ready for congested traffic during rush hour.