Fairfax Criminal Court

Fairfax Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Fairfax. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Fairfax.

Who is the prosecutor for Fairfax?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Fairfax criminal cases will either be a representative of Fairfax 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.

I need help for my Fairfax 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 Fairfax 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 Fairfax 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.

Fairfax Criminal Court

Fairfax Criminal Court

Fairfax Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Fairfax this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Fairfax 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 Fairfax 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.

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.

What is Jury Deliberation?

After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.

Defendant Sentencing

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.

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.

Fairfax Criminal Court locations

Criminal proceedings take place in the Fairfax Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.

Mandatory Appearances in Fairfax Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Fairfax, 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.

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.

Plea Agreements

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 Fairfax 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.

Right to an attorney

The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Fairfax a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.

Fairfax Criminal Court Locations

  • Fairfax County Circuit Court – 19th Judicial Circuit

    Address: 4110 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax VA 22030
    Phone: 703-691-7320

  • Fairfax County General District Court – 19th Judicial District

    Address: 4110 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax VA 22030
    Phone: 703-246-2153

  • Fairfax County General District Court – 19th Judicial District (Herndon)

    Address: 765 Lynn St, Herndon VA 22070
    Phone: 703-246-3305 (Criminal) Phone: 703-246-3764 (Traffic)

  • Fairfax County General District Court – 19th Judicial District (Vienna)

    Address: 127 S Center St S, Vienna VA 22180
    Phone: 703-246-3305 (Criminal) Phone: 703-246-3764 (Traffic)

  • Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court

    Address: 4110 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax VA 22030
    Phone: 703-246-3367

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.