Virginia Beach Robbery Trials

Virginia Beach robbery trials are not an everyday occurrence and can be extremely different depending on the specific facts of the case. For example, at that first court date, if there is an agreement between the prosecutor and the defense to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor larceny or assault and battery based on the facts of the case, then it could be resolved there at the district court.

More frequently, however, an individual will be facing the full severity of the robbery charges and should, therefore, consult with a Virginia Beach robbery lawyer to discuss their case and build a defense as soon as possible.

Where Cases Are Tried

Virginia Beach robbery trials can either be tried before a judge or before a jury. If it is before a judge, the one judge who sits and hears the evidence determines guilt and innocence and then would sentence an individual at a later date. If it is a jury, then an individual will be in front of 12 individuals of their peers who would listen to the evidence, decide guilt and after they find the individual guilty, issue a sentence.

The only difference from other charges is a robbery is not a misdemeanor where the maximum punishment is a $500 fine. This is a felony where the maximum punishment for robbery is life in prison.

Virginia Beach Court Process

In Virginia, all cases that are tried in the circuit court where the victim and the complaining are adults are open to the public. Virginia Beach robbery trials can go from as short as 30 minutes to multiple days. It just depends on the number of witnesses and the evidence against the client or the evidence the attorney plans to present. Assuming an individual has been arrested for robbery and has received a bond so they have been arraigned. The first thing they go through is the preliminary hearing.

At the preliminary hearing, the prosecution is not trying to establish guilt or innocence. They will be trying to establish probable cause, meaning, establishing that it is more likely than not that a crime occurred. It is a lower standard of guilt than guilt or innocence.

If the determination has been made that there is no probable cause, the case stops right there. If the judge determines there is probable cause, it goes onto the circuit court. Circuit court is where an individual will be tried. That judge or jury will determine an individual’s guilt or innocence.

Appearing in Court

An individual is going in front of either a judge or jury and both groups can consider that individual’s appearance when making the decision. Therefore, an individual will want to look like they are taking the trial seriously both in the way they are dressed and the way they act.

Virginia Beach does not allow bringing a cellphone and most courthouses. If they do allow cell phones, the individual should make sure it is turned off because if it goes off, the phone will be taken away.

In Virginia Beach robbery trials, people often try to explain the case to the judge. However, when the judge hears it, it can make things worse for themselves by giving away too much about the case.

Jury vs Bench Trials

Litigation can take place before a judge or a jury. In Virginia, the default presumption is that every case is a jury trial. In order to waive a jury trial and proceed by a bench trial, the prosecution, the defense or a judge all have to waive. 

Many times, the decision to waive a jury trial and proceed on to a bench trial is a tactical decision. It is something that is based on the the facts of the case or the client’s history that could influence either a judge or jury. 

 Ultimately, the decision is up to the client. In other words, if the attorney believes that a bench trial is the best choice but the client wishes to have a jury trial, then the lawyer would demand a jury trial.