Misdemeanors and felony prosecutions put your liberty at stake. Since 1991, Virginia criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz has defended thousands of clients charged with felonies and misdemeanors. He defends both, because one’s liberty is at stake whether the charge is a felony or misdemeanor, and the collateral consequences of any conviction can harm one’s livelihood, reputation, and immigration status for those who are not citizens.
Felony charges bring with them higher stakes than misdemeanor charges. In Virginia state court, felonies by default are tried before a jury in Circuit Court unless all parties waive a jury. Virginia misdemeanors ordinarily commence in General District Court or Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court, with the right to appeal a misdemeanor conviction to the Circuit Court for a trial by jury, unless both sides waive a jury.
The jury trial option often is wonderful for enhancing a criminal defendant’s chances at an acquittal, when considering the unanimity required from a jury, and the fresh eye and collective decisionmaking of a jury versus having a singular judge decide innocence or guilt. From a practical standpoint, though, the particulars of a case determine whether a judge or jury trial are likely going to be more favorable for a criminal defendant for the innocence-guilt phase of trial. In Virginia Circuit Court, if a jury convicts a defendant, a sentencing trial is then held before the jury, which recommends to the judge an incarceration term and/or a fine. The judge may either keep the jury’s recommended sentence in place, suspend a portion of the recommended sentence, or reduce a portion of the sentence.
In the final analysis, persuasion is key for Fairfax criminal lawyer Jon Katz at all phases of criminal defense, starting from the day he is hired, to trial preparation, settlement negotiations, trial presentation, and post-trial defense.
Virginia Criminal Lawyer/ Fairfax Defense Attorney Jonathan L. Katz has defended thousands of clients charged with felonies and misdemeanors, since 1991. For a confidential consultation with Jon about your case, please set an appointment through his staff, at (703) 383-1100