Anatomy of a Criminal Court Case

​​​​There is very little about our society that strikes terror into the heart of its citizens more than the prospect of having to appear in court in a criminal matter. Our system of justice is complex in nature and may appear to the ordinary citizen to be filled with big words and outdated language. That is a difficult image to dispel but it is our goal to demystify the process in such a way that much, if not all, of the uneasiness is put aside prior to entering the courthouse.
As with any environment, the courthouse has its own language, replete with a vocabulary of acronyms and abbreviations. Court proceedings are often referred to by these acronyms so we will approach our task by explaining the acronyms that represent each phase of the courtroom process.
It is important to understand that a criminal court case is more than just a single appearance in court. It is most often a series of hearings, quite often in more than one court. There are three different courts that handle criminal court cases in Virginia Beach: General District Court, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, and Circuit Court. Generally speaking, the determination of which court will hear a case is based on the charge, age of the defendant, and the age of the victim.

To understand the various steps within a particular type of case, choose from the various types below:
Criminal Court Case Type #1 - A felony case in which the defendant and the victim are adults and are not related to each other
Criminal Court Case Type #2 - A misdemeanor domestic violence case
Criminal Court Case Type #3 - A felony case involving juvenile defendants that will be tried as juveniles
Criminal Court Case Type #4 - A felony case involving adult defendant(s) and juvenile victim(s) or juvenile defendant(s) being tried as adults
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