If you’ve been arrested and charged with a criminal offense in Loudoun County, here is what you need to know about criminal enforcement. Below, a Loudoun County criminal lawyer discusses the basics about the criminal enforcement process, including what cases prosecution are cracking down on. Call a Loudoun County criminal attorney immediately if you’ve been arrested and/or charged with a criminal offense.
Once your charges are filed, you will have a court date. You should expect that the court date will be an arraignment or an advisement. The location for that court date depends on whether or not you are being charged with a misdemeanor or a felony offense. The officer will tell you whether you are being charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense.
There are many things that are unique about defending criminal cases in Loudoun County courts. These include the unique interplay between the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, and the local Town Police Departments, as well as the unique personalities and characteristics of the General District Court, the judges, and the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office that prosecutes the cases in Loudoun County. In addition, there are certain local procedures that are well known to experienced Loudoun County criminal defense attorneys, including local rules regarding discovery, trial dates, and motions practice.
As a general rule, Loudoun County prosecutors prosecute all criminal offenses with a firm hand. There are no “easy offenses” or offenses that are not prosecuted by Loudoun County. When officers—whether they are Sheriff’s Deputies, State Troopers, or Town Police Officers—bring charges to Loudoun County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, they will prosecute them. There are many kinds of offenses, however, that are particularly emphasized by Loudoun County prosecutors. These include driving under the influence (DUI/DWI), drug distribution charges, larceny, property offenses (such as burglary, robbery, and home invasion), and crimes against defenseless victims, such as children or the elderly.
Examples include felony offenses such as malicious wounding, unlawful wounding, manslaughter, rape, and serious drug offenses such as drug distribution, drug trafficking, or possession with intent to distribute.
One of the major problems with the current criminal justice system in Virginia is that there are few options for someone accused of committing a crime for the very first time. While the juvenile justice system has a large program for deferrals and diversion, the same is not true for the adult justice system. Very few code sections in Virginia allow deferral findings or diversion programs by statute.
For the most part, these are limited to simple drug possession, trespassing, and in some cases assault offenses. However, many other neighboring jurisdictions allow diversions for a wider variety of misdemeanor offenses.
Oftentimes adults, for whatever reason, find themselves charged with a serious criminal misdemeanor or felony offense for the first time that is completely out of their character. We have to reform the criminal justice system to allow these people to earn the ability to not have a conviction on their records.
An expanded diversion program could be applied on a discretionary basis, but it has to be monitored strictly. Simply having the option would be very helpful because it is too easy to hide behind an inflexible system.
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