Chesterfield County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Chesterfield County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Chesterfield County.
In a jury trial in Chesterfield County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
Appealing a guilty verdict
A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.
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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Chesterfield County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.
Prosecutor in Chesterfield County
In Chesterfield County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Chesterfield County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Virginia. For the most part, the prosecutor in Chesterfield County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
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.
Chesterfield County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Chesterfield County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
Who can help me in Chesterfield County?
For general information about your case the Chesterfield County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
What happens in Chesterfield County at an arraignment?
In Chesterfield County the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.
Mandatory Appearances in Chesterfield County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Chesterfield County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
Chesterfield County Criminal Court Locations
Chesterfield County Circuit Court – 12th Judicial Circuit
Address: 9500 Courthouse Rd, PO Box 125, Chesterfield VA 23832
Phone: 804-748-1241 Fax: 804-796-5625
Chesterfield County General District Court – 12th Judicial District
Address: 9500 Courthouse Rd, PO Box 144, Chesterfield VA 23832
Phone: 804-748-1231 Fax: 804-748-1757
Chesterfield County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
Address: 7000 Lucy Corr Blvd, PO Box 520, Chesterfield VA 23832
Phone: 804-748-1379 Fax: 804-717-6043