If you are accused of a criminal offense in Newport News, Virginia the following is important information you should know about the local criminal justice system. To seek legal representation for your case or to discuss the penalties you may be facing schedule a consultation with a Newport News criminal defense lawyer today.
The General District Court in Newport News has jurisdiction over criminal cases that are misdemeanors. It also has jurisdiction over preliminary hearings in felonies. These preliminary hearings are basically to establish whether there is evidence enough to charge the individual. If so, then this would make the case go into Circuit Court for trial.
There are no jury trials in General District Court, those all happen in Circuit Court, so it’s always a judge. The Circuit Court has jurisdiction over felony cases and certain misdemeanor cases that were appealed from the General District Court.
If something is appealed from the General District Court, it goes up to the Circuit Court. In Circuit Court, if something is appealed it goes up to the Court of Appeals and so on up until the Supreme Court.
Many, many tourists drive through Newport News in an attempt to get to the oceanfront in Virginia Beach, which makes Newport News a big commuter city. So, one of the most common cases is reckless driving, especially in the summer months and through rush hour. This is due to the fact that people really just come from all over and drive to the various tourist attractions, especially Virginia Beach, to enjoy the oceanfront which requires driving through Newport News.
The tourists typically are out-of-towners who aren’t familiar with Virginia driving laws and they’re a very easy target when they’re flying down the highway at 85 miles per hour anxious to get to the beach. Throughout the rest of the year, Newport News sees really heavy traffic during rush hour and people have to go to Newport News to commute to all of the surrounding cities like Hampton and Williamsburg. The long straight highway is just a prime spot for speeding and people get caught driving too fast constantly.
Criminal cases in Newport News are most likely to be heard in the General District Court regardless if they are felony or misdemeanor. If it’s a felony, then the preliminary hearing is heard in General District Court and if it is certified to the Grand Jury, the case is moved to the Circuit Court for trial once an indictment is set forth by the Grand Jury.
Traffic matters are heard in the Newport News General District Court.
After a person is arrested in Newport News, that person will be taken to the Newport News City Jail which is in downtown Newport News.
One very common mistake people make in criminal cases is that they speak to the officers and oftentimes end up saying more than they should have said. What they should say is that they want to hire an attorney, but many times people get nervous or anxious and they end up rambling on and on about the incident and end up providing information to the officers that can hurt them in their case later.
People many times think it’s better to give an excuse or try to cover up what actually happened, which again later on can lead to them being accused of giving prior inconsistent statements that are difficult to explain away. This puts their credibility in question. The best thing someone can do if they’re charged with something is to simply be quiet and ask to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
People should know their rights, whether or not they ever get in trouble. It’s imperative that people know what they are required to do and what they are not required to do. People are naturally respectful which when someone is questioned by a police officer their inclination is to answer. So, if you’re not aware that you don’t have to tell them anything, you’re just naturally in a position to get yourself in trouble.
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