Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, PC

Virginia's Personal Injury & Civil Rights Law Firm

February, 2012

Should I have my criminal or civil case tried by a judge or a jury?

There are many factors that may impact your decision to have your case tried by a judge or jury.  Some of those factors are listed below: (1)   The demographics of the jurisdiction where the case is pending may dictate whether a trial by jury will be advantageous to you.  Whether the jury will be liberal [...]

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“Exculpatory Evidence” – Does the prosecutor have a duty to disclose information which is favorable to the accused tending to negate this guilt or show that he is innocent?

With respect to evidence and witnesses, the prosecutor has responsibilities different from those of a lawyer in private practice: the prosecutor should make timely disclosure to the defense of available evidence, known to him, that tends to negate the guilt of the accused, mitigate the degree of the offense, or reduce the punishment. Further, a [...]

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Can I be tried twice for the same or similar charge?

Double jeopardy is a procedural defense that forbids a defendant from being tried again on the same (or similar) charges following a legitimate acquittal or conviction. The Double Jeopardy Clause of the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, provides that no   person shall “be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy [...]

Do I have a right to a trial by jury?

Generally speaking, criminal defendants may demand a jury for all serious crimes and have their case tried by a jury of 12.  On appeals of misdemeanor crimes in the Circuit Court, a criminal defendant may demand a trial by a jury of 7.   In civil cases seeking money damages, generally a litigant may demand a [...]

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What right do I have to confront my accuser?

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In a criminal case, a defendant cannot be deprived of the opportunity to put his evidence and version of the facts before the jury so “as to deprive a criminal defendant of his Sixth Amendment right to confront and cross-examine his accuser and to call witnesses in his defense,” Winfield v. Commonwealth, 225 Va. 211, [...]

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What are the penalties for misdemeanor convictions?

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§ 18.2-11. Punishment for conviction of misdemeanor. The authorized punishments for conviction of a misdemeanor are: (a) For Class 1 misdemeanors, confinement in jail for not more than twelve months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both. (b) For Class 2 misdemeanors, confinement in jail for not more than six months [...]

What are the penalties for felony convictions?

§ 18.2-10. Punishment for conviction of felony; penalty. The authorized punishments for conviction of a felony are: (a) For Class 1 felonies, death, if the person so convicted was 18 years of age or older at the time of the offense and is not determined to be mentally retarded pursuant to § 19.2-264.3:1.1, or imprisonment [...]

What are my rights to a speedy trial in Virginia?

Code § 19.2-243, the speedy trial statute, provides that if a defendant accused of a felony is continuously held in custody from the time he is indicted, he must be tried within five months of the date of the indictment if there was no preliminary hearing or five months from the preliminary hearing. If he [...]