Below a Fairfax criminal lawyer discusses the criminal justice system in Fairfax. To learn more schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
Fairfax is approximately about 15 miles from Washington, DC. It’s probably about a 30 or 40 minutes’ drive without traffic and it’s about 120 miles north of Richmond.
There are a lot of highways in and around Fairfax County. There is, of course 495 which is the Capital Beltway, route 66, and then there’s toll road. Also, there is 395 and I-95. So there’s a lot of different highways that are surrounding Fairfax County. So you will have a lot of people driving through Fairfax County to get through Virginia that don’t necessarily live here.
There are actually several police officers running radar everyday on Sundays as well. I mean they’re all over the place, they’re very well trained, and they have technical equipment to be able to measure the speed of vehicles. The speeding laws and traffic laws are highly enforced in and around Fairfax.
Traffic violations can also be criminal offenses in many cases. One prime example is reckless driving, which is a class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. It carries a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and/or $2500 fine and a potential loss of license of up to six months.
There are different kinds of reckless driving but the most common one is reckless driving by speed. This means that a person is going over 80 miles per hour or 20 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit. So even if the person is driving in a straight line and there are no cars around them just by virtue of the speed itself, you can be cited with a misdemeanor offense. Another common traffic violation that’s also a criminal offense is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Fairfax County has its own set of local ordinances that, generally speaking, will mirror the state code. There are sometimes different penalties associated with the county ordinance versus the state code. So sometimes attorneys can leverage their case and possibly argue for the case to be resolved under the county code. It depends on what the situation is, what the client’s needs are and goals are, but sometimes resolving a case under the county code could be more beneficial to the client.
In recent history, we’ve seen a lot of solicitation of prostitution cases that originate from online sting operations that law enforcement officials have set up. They post ads on certain websites that entice individuals to come to a location for purposes of engaging in prostitution.
Other types of crimes that we see of course are misdemeanor larceny and assault and battery offenses. Domestic assault and battery is a very common offense that we see. Public intoxication is also a common offense we see here.
If it’s a misdemeanor offense, then the case originates in the General District Court of the Fairfax County courthouse. If they were committing an offense in Fairfax City, the town of Vienna, or the town of Herndon, then those jurisdictions have their own courthouses and so they hear the cases first in their own General District Court. If the accused is convicted and appeals their case, those are heard in the Fairfax County Circuit Court, which is located on Chain Bridge Road.
After being arrested, they’re going to be taken to the jail to be booked and then they’ll be brought before a magistrate. In the Fairfax County jail, there’s a magistrate there 24 hours a day.
They’ll appear before the magistrate and the magistrate determines their bond. If they are able to post bond or are released on their own recognizance, then they sign a promise to appear at their court date and are released.
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