Below, are frequently asked questions on criminal cases in Fairfax including where cases are heard and important terms you should know regarding your case. To learn more call today and schedule a free consultation with a Fairfax criminal lawyer.
For misdemeanor offenses dealing with victims or parties that are not family or household members, these cases would be heard in the Fairfax General District Court. Likewise, if it is a felony offense and the parties involved are not family or household members and the person was charged on a warrant versus through an indictment, then the case would start out in the general district court. First, there will be an arraignment date and then a preliminary hearing date.
If the case is then what’s called certified to the grand jury for the felony offense to become indicted, then that case would be heard in the Circuit Court which is all in the same courthouse. If the person is charged with a criminal offense in which the victim is a family or household member or the victim is a minor, then the juvenile domestic relations court will have jurisdiction over that case.
Traffic cases are still heard in the General District Court, but in the traffic division. Most of the time those are heard on the first floor of the courthouse. General district court judges do hear those cases.
They will be taken to the magistrate’s office which is at the Fairfax Adult Detention Center. The courthouse complex is at 4110 Chain Bridge Road and the magistrate’s office is attached to that building.
A grand jury is a group of twelve individuals that are summoned to appear in a grand jury proceeding. The Commonwealth’s Attorney then presents all the cases for that term period through witnesses. Usually, it is the lead detective or police officer that recites the facts of the case and then the grand jury collectively decides whether there is probable cause that a felony or group of felonies has been committed and that the person that’s named in the indictment is a person that committed those crimes.
So, they are not determining guilt or innocence rather they are just determining whether or not, based on the facts presented by the Commonwealth’s Attorney, there is sufficient evidence to formally indict somebody on a felony charge and sometimes there are misdemeanors as well.
An indictment is a document that lists the formal charges against an individual. The charging document is similar to the arrest warrant.
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