Jon Katz’s Virginia criminal defense/DWI law firm has its satellite meeting office four blocks from the Arlington County, Virginia, courthouse and one block from the Courthouse Metro station, with the firm’s main office across the street from the Fairfax County courthouse. Our satellite meeting office is at 2111 Wilson Blvd., Suite 700, Arlington, Virginia 22201. Driving directions to our Arlington satellite office are here.
Arlington is the northernmost county in Northern Virginia, and its courthouse has three Circuit Court judges, three General District Court judges, and two Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court judges. The modest number of judges is reflective of the small geographic size and modest population of the county. At the same time, the courthouse is busy and handles a wide range of alleged crimes, particularly when considering the many non-residents who come to Arlington from nearby Virginia counties, the neighboring nation’s capital and Maryland, as well as National Airport located only a few miles from the courthouse.
Regardless of how politically liberal or progressive and racially color-blind the Arlington County population may be when compared to the rest of Virginia, the county’s prosecutor’s office is generally a law-and-order office that seems to work very harmoniously with the police, which harmony is common beyond Arlington as well. Many Arlington jurors or their close relatives and friends will have experience working with the federal or local governments, which reduces the likelihood that Arlington county jurors will have a high level of skepticism about prosecutors and police. An Arlington County jury that convicts a criminal defendant may be firm in its recommended sentence.
Arlington County prosecutors have a smaller caseload than in neighboring Fairfax County. For General District Court criminal cases, a prosecutor usually is assigned around two to three weeks before the first non-arraignment court date. Once a prosecutor is assigned, the criminal defense lawyer can seek discovery from the prosecutor. The criminal defense lawyer needs to decide whether to agree to the informality and prosecutor-provided agreement that comes with open file discovery, or to seek a formal discovery order from the Court. Absent an agreement otherwise, Arlington County prosecutors will not agree to providing copies of discovery, rather than permitting a discovery review at its office.
Criminal defendants and their lawyers need to be fully ready for trial on the first non-arraignment General District Court trial date, and should not expect that same day continuances will be granted on the trial date.
The Arlington County General District Court file will not include the criminal complaint (usually only filed in Arlington County for DWI cases) nor certificate of analysis for alcohol nor drug testing. The criminal complaint may be obtained by the lawyer of record, the criminal defendant, or a lawyer having a signed authorization from the defendant (with this being a suitable authorization form).
Here are the Arlington County Circuit Court Local Rules and Preferred Practices. Note that even where a jury trial is waived by the parties, the Local Rules call for scheduling motions hearings in advance of the trial date.
Circuit Court filings ideally will be filed electronically. The federal PACER online filing and docketing system is superior to the Arlington County online filing system, but the Arlington County online filing system is better than having no online filing system at all.
Non-lawyer visitors to the Arlington County courthouse are barred from bringing cellphones and other computerized devices into the courthouse. Each Virginia courthouse has its own rules about limiting access to cellphones. Courthouse visitors may leave their cellphones in the lockers (requiring payment of a quarter) on the first floor of the jail that faces the courthouse entrance, or to leave their phones in their cars. Lawyers are permitted to have their cellphones and other computer devices exposed in the General District Courtrooms but generally not in the Circuit Courtrooms. Cellphone ringtones and vibrators should be turned off while in the courtroom.
Courthouse visitors have the option of coming to court by the Courthouse Metro station two blocks away, by car, or by bus. Driving directions are available here. The courthouse parking lot is on North Courthouse Road across from the courthouse, and fills up quickly and early; the meters there (where the receipt is placed on one’s dashboard) only go to four hours, so need to be replenished timely. Numerous parking garages are available within blocks of the courthouse. Many metered parking options exists for a several block radius of the courthouse running from one to four hours. Among the parking alternatives to the courthouse parking lot is to turn north from North Courthouse Road onto 13th Street (bounded to the west by the Hilton Garden Inn) and to park on that street or on one of the side streets to the right.
Visitors to our satellite meeting office at 2111 Wilson Blvd., Suite 700, Arlington, Virginia have the option of parking underneath the building, on Veitch Street (which bounds the south side of our office and intersects with Wilson Blvd.) or on numerous other nearby side streets. Our Arlington meeting office is part of a three-building complex, with our building being at the northwest corner of Wilson Blvd. and Veitch Street, with a Corner Bakery restaurant on the first floor as a landmark. Please call our main office (703-383-1100) for making appointments at our Arlington meeting office.