Fairfax second criminal trial dates bring new possibilities and risks
Fairfax second General District Court criminal trial dates can involve new prosecutors and judges, and new chances and hurdles
Fairfax second General District Court (GDC) criminal trial dates are common, but not assured for non-Virginia DWI cases (Fairfax criminal GDC procedures generally permit continuances from first DUI trial dates.) (I support judges advising unrepresented Virginia criminal defendants that they may have a postponement to have time to seek a lawyer, even when the prosecution is waiving seeking jail time (which deprives one of the option to obtain a court-appointed lawyer, but still provides the ability to seek a retained or pro bono attorney). As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that a GDC trial date continuance will usually amount to having a new assistant commonwealth’s attorney / prosecutor on the subsequent trial date (unless the prosecutor is keeping the case, which is infrequent in GDC), and a new judge (because Fairfax GDC has twelve judges, who regularly rotate their courtrooms).
Does today’s plea / settlement offer remain open until my next Fairfax criminal trial date?
By law, letting your case get continued (or objecting to a granted prosecutor continuance) extinguishes the prosecutor’s plea offer that is extended on your first trial date, unless the prosecutor agrees otherwise. Nonetheless, if my client may wants to consider that plea offer on the Fairfax second criminal GDC trial date — or to continue negotiating from there — I often send the prosecutor an email confirming the last offer. I usually expect the prosecutor’s file will reflect the last plea offer made by the prosecutor. However, if the last offer is totally out of my client’s negotiating ballpark, I may avoid sending such an email at all, in order not to highlight that offer to the next prosecutor who handles the case.
Will my county criminal trial judge and prosecutor be better or worse on my next court date than my first one?
One of three things will happen on your first Fairfax GDC trial date, that being a trial, a negotiated settlement or case dismissal, or a continuance to a Fairfax second criminal trial date. Even if the Virginia criminal defendant prefers an opportunity to work with a subsequent prosecutor to pursue a more favorable settlement negotiation, that needs to be weighed against whether a less favorable judge is sitting on the next court date and whether the plea offer gets no better. Consequently, sometimes it is simply better to proceed to trial on the first court date in Fairfax criminal GDC court, which I have done with success.
Getting the defense continuance objection into the Fairfax court’s record
Any time an assistant commonwealth’s attorney / prosecutor successfully obtains a Fairfax second criminal GDC trial date or a nolle prosequi (dismissal without preventing the prosecutor from recharging the alleged crime) over the defendant’s objection, the Virginia criminal defense lawyer will want that objection marked in the record by the judge, particularly since Virginia district courts are courts not of record, meaning they have no recordation device unless either party (and sometimes a third party) pays for the presence of a court reporter or arranges for electronic recording of the proceedings.
Will the more progressive chief prosecutor and the busy criminal criminal case dockets favor me for negotiating my criminal case?
Do not automatically rely on Fairfax’s having among the second busiest Virginia criminal case dockets to guarantee you a favorable case settlement / plea deal. Offsetting that is when prosecutors prefer letting a judge or jury rule against them than to fall on their own sword, and the Fairfax commonwealth’s attorney’s office’s extra funding obtained after a period of time earlier in chief prosecutor Steve Descano’s administration to not participate in most non-DUI GDC cases. Do not rely, either, on a better settlement offer merely because chief prosecutor Steve Descano proclaims progressive policies. He is still an elected official with his own agenda who wants to be responsive to the electorate. Consequently, for all criminal prosecutions, obtain the right lawyer for you.
Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz doggedly pursues your best defense against Virginia felony, misdemeanor and DUI prosecutions. Jon Katz will be delighted to discuss your court-pending criminal case through a free in-person confidential consultation, scheduled at 703-383-1100.