VA Courts Flashcards Preview

Criminal Procedure > VA Courts > Flashcards

Flashcards in VA Courts Deck (18)
Loading flashcards...

District Court Description

  1. district court
    1. no juries
    2. no record
    3. original jurisdiction over misdemeanors, prelim. hearings for felonies


Circuit Court Description

  1. circuit court
    1. trials (jury or bench)
    2. original jurisdiction over felonies
    3. appeals from district court (de novo only)


Virginia Court of Appeals Description

  1. Virginia Court of Appeals
    • No mandatory right to appeal (only state in the nation for this)
    • final appeal for misdemeanor convictions if no jail.


Supreme Court of Virginia Description

  1. Supreme Court of Virginia
    • review if substantial constitutional question or issue of significant precedential value.
    • Death penalty cases are automatically appealed to this court.



  1. felony- generally no limitation
  2. misdemeanor-1 year
  3. continuing offenses (e.g. desertion/nonsupport)- generally no limitations
  4. few limited exceptions (e.g. petit larceny: 5 years)


Preliminary Hearings

  1. held in district court
  2. an accused charged with a felony has a right to preliminary hearing unless an indictment is returned prior to the preliminary hearing.
  3. right to a preliminary hearing is waived if not raised before trial


Forms of Indictment Definitions

  1. indictment- written accusation of a crime prepared by the attorney for the commonwealth and returned a “true bill” upon oath or affirmation of a legally impaneled grand jury (jury foreman signs indictment)
  2. presentment- a written accusation of a crime or a complaint for forfeiture by property/money, prepared and presented by a competent public official upon his oath of office.
  3. information- a written accusation of a crime or a complaint for forfeiture of property/money, prepared and presented by a competent public official upon his oath of office.


Indictment Irregularities

  1. generally, irregularities in time or manner do not vitiate the indictment because they are considered harmless errors
  2. exceptions
    1. failure to state an offense
    2. systematic exclusion from grand jury on basis of race


Necessity for Indictment

  1. defendant may not be tried for a felony unless an indictment or presentment has been found or made by the proper grand jury, unless the defendant waives this right.


Arraignment Necessity

  1. Felony- not necessary if waived by accused.
  2. Misdemeanor- arraignment is not necessary if:
    1. waived by accused or his counsel, or
    2. the defendant fails to appear.


Discovery of Defendant Statements

  1. A trial court can order discovery of statements or confessions of the defendant, which includes:
    1. written and recorded statements of the accused in connection with a particular case, or
    2. oral statements only if made to a law enforcement officer.


Discovery Requirements

  1. discoverable items must be relevant to the case, and
  2. items must be known to be within the possession, custody, or control of the Commonwealth


Reciprocal Discovery

  1. if discovery is granted to the defense, the prosecution may motion the grand court for reciprocal discovery
  2. right to reciprocal discovery attached only after the defense has been permitted some discovery of the state’s case


Habeas Corpus Description

  1. civil trial, defendant is plaintiff, suing the government because:
    1. basis of holding the defendant is unconstitutional (conviction unconstitutional), or
    2. manner of holding the defendant is improper or unconstitutional (hazardous to the defendant’s health


Where Habeas Corpus Petition is Filed

  1. Case filed in court where defendant was originally sentenced, except in death penalty cases which go straight to the supreme court


Non-Waivable Rights

  1. appearance
  2. failure to state an offense


Three Waivable Rights by Affirmative Action

  1. Counsel
  2. Miranda
  3. Jury Trial


Waivability of all other rights

  1. All other rights waived by failure to assert.