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News & Press: Fairfax General District Court

GDC Revised Policy on Felony Cases and Preliminary Hearings

Thursday, June 29, 2017  
Posted by: Courtnie Norris
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Beginning July 10, 2017, the Fairfax County General District Court will implement a revised policy regarding felony cases and preliminary hearings. This revised policy is the culmination of consultation with and input from the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney, the Public Defender's Office, the General District Court Committee of the Fairfax Bar Association, the General District Court Clerk's Office and the Sheriff's Office. The revised policy is as follows:

1. Upon Advisement, a preliminary hearing date will be scheduled for a date no later than 60 days from the date of arrest.

2. On the preliminary hearing date, if the case is not resolved and upon motion, the case will be continued only upon good cause shown. If the motion to continue is granted and it is a non-DFS certificate of analysis case, the next preliminary hearing date will be set for no later than 60 days out. If it is a DFS certificate of analysis case, the next preliminary hearing date will be set for no later than 120 days out.

3. Absent extraordinary circumstances, the case will not be continued again. 

4. If at the initial preliminary hearing date, the parties anticipate a misdemeanor disposition but upon good cause shown believe a short continuance is necessary to finalize such a disposition, the preliminary hearing will be continued to a date no later than 60 days out. In addition, an interim disposition date will be set on the Court's 9:30 a.m. criminal docket for imposition of the anticipated misdemeanor disposition. If such misdemeanor disposition is finalized as anticipated, it will be imposed on that 9:30 a.m. docket. If the misdemeanor disposition is not finalized, the case will remain on the new preliminary hearing date for resolution. Absent extraordinary circumstances, the case will not be continued again.

5. Except as set forth herein, in court motions to continue will be disfavored. Motions to continue filed for review in Judges' Chambers should be filed reasonably in advance of the next court date and will only be considered by the Court consistent with the policy set forth herein.

6. The assigned preliminary hearing docket courtrooms will be open no later than 1:30 pm. The Commonwealth, defense counsel, officers and other witnesses will be expected to be present at that time. When the docket is called at 2:00 pm, the parties will be expected to advise the Court of the status of their case.

7. The number of cases per courtroom will be expanded to effectuate this policy. 

8. Consistent with current policy, parties with a case going to preliminary hearing must be ready to begin the hearing no later than 3:00 pm.
 

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