The judges in Fairfax do not dismiss, defer, or otherwise reduce your charge conditioned on you taking driving school. There are a number of different judges in this jurisdiction and each one will do things slightly different. Driving school can be taken before court to get some, if any, consideration from the judge in mitigation of the offense or it can be done after court to recoup the points you lost in court. Many people appear in Fairfax County prepared to ask for driving school and are stunned when the judge informs them that is not an option. It is better to know that before going in.
The Prosecutor Will Not Speak To You If You Are Not Represented
Another common surprise for many people when they arrive at court in Fairfax is that they cannot speak to the prosecutor. In Fairfax County, the Assistant Commonwealth Attorneys (prosecutors) do not get involved in pro se cases. This means that if you do not have a lawyer, there is no plea bargaining for you. The case is resolved in open court between you, the officer, and the judge.
Finding Your Courtroom
The traffic docket is posted on the first floor of the courthouse. If you enter through the main entrance, after going through security, stay right as your pass the information desk and the escalators. Walk straight back and on the wall will be television monitors with the day's docket posted on it. The television monitors list the docket alphabetically by the defendant's last name. Next to the name is their courtroom. Courtrooms 1A-1E are located on the first floor. Courtrooms 2H and 2G are on the second floor.
Calling of the Docket
The judge will call cases on the docket by officer. Usually, this entails the judge calling the officer with the fewest cases first and proceeding to the officer with the most cases last. Case are called alphabetically for your particular officer. At times, the judge may interrupt the calling of a particular officer's cases to take up attorney motions or Commonwealth motions. The judge will take up guilty and no contest pleas when they are called. Not guilty pleas are set for trial and placed at the end of the docket.
When the judge calls your case, he wants to hear one thing - your plea. If your plea is not guilty, your case will be passed until the end for trial. Guilty and No Contest pleas will be taken up right away. Think about how you are going to plea before you get to court. Do not wait until the judge calls your name to make that decision.
Virginia judges have no control over points that DMV assign for an offense. Points are purely administrative with DMV and the Judge has no say in it.
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