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Jurisdiction of JDR court for Virginia criminal cases- View of Fairfax lawyer

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Sep 18, 2020 Jurisdiction of JDR court for Virginia criminal cases- View of Fairfax lawyer

Jurisdiction of JDR court or Virginia criminal cases- View of Fairfax lawyer. Photo of law books

Jurisdiction of JDR court for Virginia criminal cases- View of Fairfax lawyer

Jurisdiction and venue of court sometimes need challenging in Virginia cases, says Fairfax criminal lawyer

Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court (“JDR”) is one of two Virginia misdemeanor courts, the other one being the General District Court (“GDC”). As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that jurisdiction and venue sometimes needs challenging in Virginia criminal cases. Today’s blog entry focuses on the jurisdiction prong.

What criminal cases fall within the Virginia JDR court’s authority?

The Virginia JDR courts have criminal case jurisdiction over crimes allegedly caused by juveniles, crimes allegedly committed against juveniles, and crimes against family or household members. On the quasi-criminal front, the commonwealth Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Courts have authority over protective order matters. Va. Code § 16.1-241.

“‘Family or Household member’ means (i) the person’s spouse, whether or not he or she resides in the same home with the person, (ii) the person’s former spouse, whether or not he or she resides in the same home with the person, (iii) the person’s parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, brothers, sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, grandparents and grandchildren, regardless of whether such persons reside in the same home with the person, (iv) the person’s mother-in-law, father-in-law, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law who reside in the same home with the person, (v) any individual who has a child in common with the person, whether or not the person and that individual have been married or have resided together at any time, or (vi) any individual who cohabits or who, within the previous 12 months, cohabited with the person, and any children of either of them then residing in the same home with the person.” Va. Code § 16.1-228.

What is the advantage of moving a Virginia criminal case from JDR to General & Domestic Relations District Court, for lack of jurisdiction?

At least one  benefit of challenging court jurisdiction and moving an adult Virginia criminal prosecution to Virginia General District Court is that satisfaction and discharge law applies to assault charges in GDC court, but not in JDR court. Another benefit might be related to any concern of the criminal defense lawyer that the assigned JDR judge tends to be biased in favor of alleged juvenile victims of crime, or in favor of certain categories of people.  On the other hand, an advantage to keeping one’s criminal defense in JDR court is that Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court cases never show up on any court online websites.

Fairfax criminal defense lawyer Jonathan L. Katz knows that a win is a win, whether through courtroom drama or getting a prosecution dismissed for the wrong jurisdiction or venue. Call 703-383-1100 for a free in-person confidential consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending criminal or DUI prosecution. 

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