Virginia District Attorneys

A Virginia Commonwealth Attorney is the prosecuting officer of a criminal case. This is the official who represents the government in prosecuting criminal offenses. Other states call them district attorneys (D.A.s). But regardless of the name, they serve the same functions. 

The following article will get you up to speed on the work of prosecutors. It also provides a directory of Virginia commonwealth attorneys by county.

What Does the Prosecutor Do?

Prosecutors work closely with law enforcement in collecting evidence against a criminal defendant. It's also their job to get evidence admitted at trial. They decide what charges to pursue and when to negotiate a plea deal. These decisions are made based on prosecutorial discretion

If you're facing criminal charges, remember that it's not the prosecutor's job to protect your rights. Criminal justice in the U.S. uses an adversarial system, and it's up to you and your defense attorney to fight for your constitutional rights. 

Virginia Attorney General

The Attorney General's (A.G.) office represents the state in litigation. It also advocates on behalf of Virginia residents. 

Attorneys general oversee the administration of the criminal justice system in their jurisdiction. Underneath them, commonwealth attorneys handle the administration of criminal law and the system behind it within their respective jurisdictions.

After charges have been filed, the main prosecutorial part of a commonwealth attorney's job begins. The commonwealth attorneys will, from time to time, make appearances in circuit courts in their district. They will present evidence to a court. They'll try to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. They'll pursue certain penalties and sentences.

Attorneys general and commonwealth attorneys handle prosecutions of all criminal offenses within their respective jurisdictions. Examples of these offenses are the following:

  • Domestic violence
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Drug charges and offenses
  • Fraud, including health care fraud
  • Sex crimes

The Attorney General will also handle civil matters if the state is involved in a lawsuit. They will also handle issues related to consumer protection.

When It Makes Sense To Speak With the Prosecutor

There may be times when you want to enter into discussions with the prosecution. After all, you may be able to resolve your case before trial by obtaining a plea bargain. These typically result in reduced charges or penalties.

But these discussions are tricky. You need to make sure that what you communicate won't hurt your case later. If your case goes to trial, anything you've said could be used against you. So, it's generally best to have your communications to the prosecution go through an experienced defense attorney. 

There are also situations where victims of a crime or other concerned citizens may wish to contact their local prosecutor. The Commonwealth's Attorney's Services Council maintains a database where you can look up contact information for any elected Commonwealth's Attorney.

Free and Low-Cost Legal Help in Virginia 

It's important to know that you still have options, even if you can't afford an attorney. Attorneys at the office of the public defender can help you for free.  

You can also seek help from Legal Aid Virginia. This nonprofit organization provides people with low income with legal services for little or no cost.

Get a Handle on Your Criminal Case: Contact a Lawyer

It's critical to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. If you're ever facing criminal charges, it's important to work with a lawyer. Prosecutors might seem like they're approachable. But their job is not to protect you; it's to prosecute you. 

Speak with a defense attorney in your area who can help you understand the charges against you and craft a winning defense strategy.

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