Jan 06, 2020 Reform developments in criminal law- Fairfax criminal lawyer weighs in
Reform in criminal law being pushed by Virginia’s governor- Fairfax criminal lawyer sees real chance of passage
Reform in criminal law — to criminal defendants’ benefit — is a likelihood for this winter’s Virginia legislative session, now that Democrats control both the executive branch and both houses of the Virginia legislature. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I am keeping track of these developments, including Governor Ralph Northam’s January 3, 2020, announcement of his criminal legislative agenda.
Reform with marijuana, felony theft threshold, parole, and suspending licenses for late payment of court fines and costs
Governor Northam’s reform agenda focuses on (1) making simple possession of marijuana a civil offense with a $50 civil penalty (consider the simple marijuana possession dismissal trend in Fairfax and Arlington Counties), (2) raising the felony theft threshold value to $1,000 from $500, (3) returning parole eligibility to Virginia, (4) ending suspension of driving privileges for unpaid court fines and fees, and (5) ending suspended driving for drug crimes.
The governor’s criminal law reform agenda also (1) raises the age to 16 from 14 for the crimes that a prosecutor may prosecute in adult court without court pre-approval, (2) expands the category of individuals who may petition for Writs of Actual Innocence, (3) permitting community service by inmates to offset their court fines and costs,
Financing for more public defenders, reduced incarceration, and district court clerk positions
Governor Northam’s criminal law reform package also covers: (1) funding for 59 new public defenders as well
as $2.7 million to establish a public defender office in Prince William County, which has one of Virginia’s busiest criminal court dockets, (2) $4.6 million over the next two years to support an expansion of pretrial and local probation services, (3) $2 million over the next two years for pre-release and post-incarceration services to enhance public safety by supporting reintegration of adult offenders from local and state correctional facilities, (4) $1.3 million for the Virginia Parole Board to develop release plans for offenders who are eligible for parole, to ensure returning citizens have stable support. and (5) $5.6 million for additional district court clerk positions.
Please encourage your Virginia state senators and delegates to support the foregoing criminal law reforms
Please encourage your Virginia state senators and delegates to support the foregoing criminal law reform. You can find their names and contact information here.
Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best defense against felony, misdemeanor, DUI, drug, marijuana and sex prosecutions in Northern Virginia, and beyond, including Fairfax County, Arlington, Prince William & Loudoun counties. To discuss your case with Jon Katz, please call his staff at 703-383-1100 to schedule a confidential consultation.