Alexandria Robbery Trials
Robbery is a serious charge and it is taken seriously in Alexandria. Robberies are viewed as dangerous crimes that affect the public, so a person should know that prosecutors will prosecute these cases vigorously.
Judges also view robbery as a potential crime against public safety and a property offense. Therefore, they often believe that there is no good excuse for a robbery offense. A person should be prepared with a strong legal defense and strong mitigation evidence should they press forward for a robbery trial in Alexandria.
A person typically has two trial options in Virginia. The trial options are trial by a judge or trial by a jury. To have a bench trial, or trial by judge, the prosecution, the defense, and the court must all waive the right to a jury trial. If all three parties waive the right to a jury trial, the case will proceed by bench trial. If any of the parties request a jury trial, the case shall be a trial by jury.
Factors of Cases
Other than the severity of the offense, a robbery trial is not much different than trials for similar offenses. There are unique defenses in every kind of case, but similar to any other criminal trial there are factual issues, factors to be concerned with and not to be concerned with, possible evidentiary issues, and legal issues that may come up.
Robbery cases are open to the public. There are open court laws. Therefore, any trial either by a judge or jury can be attended by anyone in the public, with few exceptions.
It is important to know where the court is before the first hearing. It is important to know where the accused is meeting their attorney, where to park, whether cellular telephones are permitted in the building, and what to wear. These are things that attorneys take for granted because they are familiar with local procedures and local customs, that many defendants are unaware of. There are a lot of simple matters that a client’s attorney can explain to their client before their first court date in Alexandria.
Considering Plea Agreements
The decision to enter into a plea agreement should not be taken lightly and should be discussed at length with counsel. It should only be made after discussing the elements of the case, the offenses, the factual evidence, potential defenses and various other factors that may come up, including sentencing procedures, sentencing options, evidentiary issues, mitigation issues, background, whether the person is on probation, and/or whether there may be issues with the accused’s immigration status. It is a decision that can only be made on a case by case basis.
In Virginia, there are a variety of facts to consider in every case. If someone takes a case to trial and it is a jury trial, the jury also recommends sentencing. In many states, a jury trial still has a judge to do the sentencing. This is significant because often a jury’s sentences are harsher that what a judge would give.
Some offenses, notably distribution of narcotics, allow a sentence from five years to 20 years. If found guilty, a jury can recommend a sentence of no less than five years. However, if the accused entered a plea of guilty, rather than being found guilty by a jury, it is common that their sentence would be far less than five years, depending on their background among other factors. Juries do not have the authority to suspend time to serve the way a judge can.