Public defenders do a yeoman’s job, but the problem is that because of the number of cases they deal with on a daily basis, they have difficulty giving each particular case the personalized attention that it needs and deserves. I am not speaking ill of public defenders because they are absolutely necessary for a number of people who cannot afford to hire a retained attorney or a private attorney. However, if you do have the means to do so, it is in your best interest because a private attorney can give a person the personal touch and the personal attention that most people require.
When it comes to hiring an attorney, you want to hire someone and you want to have somebody representing you that you feel the most comfortable with and you want someone who is going to return your calls, return your emails and be accessible for you. That normally comes when you have a retained or a private attorney and you don’t normally get that attention when you have a public defender or a court appointed attorney.
What Happens In the Process of Initial Arraignment?
It depends on whether or not you’re being charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. If you are being charged with a felony, then the arraignment is the first step. When you go to an arraignment, the court will give you the formal reading of your charge and inform of you of your right to an attorney, and then they ask you whether or not you qualify for a court-appointed attorney. If so, they can provide one for you; if not, they inform you that you need to retain an attorney. Depending on the jurisdiction, they will actually give you a court date or a deadline by which you need to have that attorney retained.
The court will also set a preliminary hearing date for you if it is a felony. A preliminary hearing, also known as a probable cause hearing, is a hearing where the court determines whether or not there is probable cause to bring these charges against you.
If they determine that there is, they send the case to the grand jury. The grand jury is a group of your peers that meet in private that review the commonwealth evidence and determine whether or not there was enough to bring these charges against you. If they do determine that, then a true bill is created and a person is indicted. An indictment is the charging document that is used in the circuit court and that indictment is typically served upon a person at a date called a Term Day.
Term day is a date where the indictment is given to a person and a date is set for a bench trial, a jury trial, or a plea. Now, for a misdemeanor, it depends on the jurisdiction. There are some jurisdictions that don’t have an arraignment, it just goes straight to your trial date.
Other jurisdictions do have an arraignment, and it follows a similar procedure to that of a felony where they formally read you your charge, they ask you whether you want a court-appointed counsel or retain your own attorney, and then they set a court date for you and that new date they set for you is either a date to inform the court that you’ve hired an attorney or it just goes straight to your trial date.
Do the Majority of Drug Cases Involve Hardened Criminals, or Do Professionals Get Arrested as Well?
Absolutely! In most cases, the person or persons are not addicts, they are not people with drug problems; they are people experimenting or they are people who are recreational users. Hardcore drug users are not always the ones that we’re dealing with and in most situations, it’s actually the professionals and the nurses and teachers.
Drug users come in all different shapes and sizes and it doesn’t matter what your profession is; we’ve had clients from all walks of life and all different professions.
How Public Is A Drug Arrest in Virginia?
The police and the court are not going to notify the person’s job in most situations, or notify family and friends. However, it does get put inside the court’s website. If you go to the Virginia Supreme Court’s website, there is an archive that has all pending charges. Once the police officer submits their paperwork to the court, they get put inside that system and they are easily searchable. If a person wants to look a person up and see if they have any pending charges, that can be done rather easily by just going to the court’s website, looking up the jurisdiction and then typing in a person’s name.
For more information on Private Attorney vs. Public Defender, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (703) 548-1462 today.