Chesapeake Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Chesapeake. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Chesapeake.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Chesapeake this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Chesapeake Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Chesapeake a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
I need help for my Chesapeake criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Chesapeake court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Chesapeake will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
Jury Deliberations in Chesapeake
In Chesapeake, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.
Chesapeake Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Chesapeake will take place at the Chesapeake Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Chesapeake Criminal Court Locations.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
Required Court Appearances in Chesapeake
Any required court appearances in Chesapeake Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
The Right to Counsel
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
Who is the prosecutor for Chesapeake?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Chesapeake criminal cases will either be a representative of Chesapeake or a representative from Virginia. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Chesapeake you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.
Chesapeake Criminal Court Locations
City of Chesapeake Circuit Court – 1st Judicial Circuit
Address: 307 Albemarle Dr, #300A, Chesapeake VA 23322
Phone: 757-382-3000 Fax: 757-382-3034
City of Chesapeake General District Court – 1st Judicial District
Address: 307 Albemarle Dr, #100A, Chesapeake VA 23322
City of Chesapeake Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
Address: 301 Albemarle Dr, 2nd Floor, Chesapeake VA 23322
Phone: 757-382-8100 Fax: 757-382-8152