Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 16.1. Courts Not of Record
Chapter 7. Jurisdiction and Procedure in Criminal Matters
6/26/2022

Chapter 7. Jurisdiction and Procedure in Criminal Matters.

Article 1. Jurisdiction in Criminal Matters.

§ 16.1-123. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1984, c. 506.

§ 16.1-123.1. Criminal and traffic jurisdiction of general district courts.

1. Each general district court shall have, within the county, including the towns within such county, or city for which it is established, exclusive original jurisdiction for the trial of:

a. All offenses against the ordinances, laws and bylaws of such county, including the towns within such county, or city or of any service district within such county or city, except a city ordinance enacted pursuant to §§ 18.2-372 through 18.2-391.1. All offenses against the ordinances of a service district shall be prosecuted in the name of such service district;

b. All other misdemeanors and traffic infractions arising in such county, including the towns in such county, or city.

2. Each general district court which is established within a city shall also have:

a. Concurrent jurisdiction with the circuit court of such city for all violations of state revenue and election laws; and

b. Exclusive original jurisdiction, except as otherwise provided by general law or the city charter, within the area extending for one mile beyond the corporate limits thereof, for the trial of all offenses against the ordinances, laws and bylaws of the city.

3. If a city lying within a county has no general district court provided by city charter or under general law, then the general district court of the county within which such city lies shall have the same jurisdiction in such city as a general district court established for a city would have.

4. Each general district court shall have such other jurisdiction, exclusive or concurrent, as may be conferred on such court by general law or by provisions of the charter of the city for which the court was established.

5. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection C of § 19.2-244, any county general district court authorized by § 16.1-69.35:01 to be established in a city shall have exclusive original jurisdiction for the trial of all misdemeanors committed within or upon the general district court courtroom.

6. Upon certification by the general district court of any felony charge and ancillary misdemeanor charge or when an appeal of a conviction of an offense in general district court is noted, jurisdiction as to such charges shall vest in the circuit court, unless such case is reopened pursuant to § 16.1-133.1; a final judgment, order, or decree is modified, vacated, or suspended pursuant to Supreme Court of Virginia Rule 1:1; or the appeal has been withdrawn in the general district court within 10 days pursuant to § 16.1-133.

7. Nothing herein shall affect the jurisdiction conferred on the juvenile and domestic relations district court by Chapter 11 (§ 16.1-226 et seq.).

1984, c. 506; 2019, c. 240; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 187.

§ 16.1-124. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1984, c. 506.

§ 16.1-126. Certain courts of record may try misdemeanors; procedure.

Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, the circuit court of any county or city having criminal jurisdiction, shall have jurisdiction to try any person for any misdemeanor for which a presentment or indictment is brought in or for which an information is filed; or such court may certify the presentment, indictment or information for trial to the court not of record which would otherwise have jurisdiction of the offense; in which event the presentment, indictment or information shall be in lieu of any warrant, petition or other pleading which might otherwise be required by law.

1956, c. 555.

§ 16.1-127. Courts may conduct preliminary examinations.

In addition to the power and authority conferred by this chapter on courts not of record having criminal jurisdiction, each such court shall have power to conduct preliminary examinations of persons charged with crime within its jurisdiction in the manner prescribed in Chapter 7 (§ 19.2-71 et seq.) of Title 19.2.

1956, c. 555; 1960, c. 362.

§ 16.1-128. Exception when jurisdiction in State Corporation Commission.

Nothing in this chapter shall be held to confer upon courts not of record any jurisdiction or power over offenses of which jurisdiction is specifically vested in the State Corporation Commission or in courts of record under the corporation laws of the Commonwealth.

1956, c. 555.

Article 2. Procedure in Criminal Cases.

§ 16.1-129. Offenses tried on warrants, or as provided in Chapter 7 of Title 19.2.

Every offense of which a court not of record is given jurisdiction under this title may be tried upon a warrant; or the judge of such court may, in his discretion, make an examination into the offense and proceed according to the provisions of Chapter 7 (§ 19.2-71 et seq.) of Title 19.2. The word warrant as used in this chapter shall be construed to include a summons or notice requiring a person to appear and answer a charge of having violated any statute, ordinance, or any regulation having the force and effect of law.

1956, c. 555; 1960, c. 373.

§ 16.1-129.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1990, c. 75.

§ 16.1-129.2. Procedure when warrant defective.

Upon the trial of a warrant, the court may, upon its own motion or upon the request either of the attorney for the prosecution or for the accused, amend the form of the warrant in any respect in which it appears to be defective. But when the warrant is so defective in form that it does not substantially appear from the same what is the offense with which the accused is charged, or even when it is not so seriously defective, the judge of the court having examined on oath the original complainant, if there be one, or if he sees good reason to believe that an offense has been committed, then without examination of witnesses, may issue under his own hand his warrant reciting the offense and requiring the defendant in the original warrant to be arrested and brought before him. Upon the arrest of the defendant on the new warrant and his production or appearance in court the trial shall proceed upon the new warrant. When there is an amendment of the original warrant the trial shall proceed on the amended warrant. But whether the warrant is amended or a new warrant is issued, the court before proceeding to trial on the same may grant a continuance to the prosecution or to the defendant upon such terms as to costs as may be proper under the circumstances of the case; provided, however, that if the warrant be amended or if a new warrant be issued after any evidence has been heard, the accused shall be entitled to a continuance as a matter of right.

When a warrant is amended or a new warrant is issued the costs already accrued shall be taxed against the defendant, if he is ultimately convicted, as a part of the costs arising under the new or amended warrant.

1968, c. 495.

§ 16.1-129.3. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1974, c. 481.

§ 16.1-130. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1983, c. 499.

§ 16.1-131. Subpoenas duces tecum and recognizances of witnesses; applicable provisions.

The provisions of § 16.1-90 with respect to recognizances for witnesses upon the continuation of any case, shall be applicable to proceedings of a criminal nature as well as to civil actions. The provisions of Rule 3A:12 of the Rules of the Supreme Court shall apply to the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum and punishment for failure to comply.

1956, c. 555; 1986, c. 160.

§ 16.1-131.1. Procedure when constitutionality of a statute is challenged in a court not of record.

In any criminal or traffic case in a court not of record, if the court rules that a statute or local ordinance is unconstitutional, it shall upon motion of the Commonwealth, or the locality if a local ordinance is the subject of the ruling, stay the proceedings and issue a written statement of its findings of law and relevant facts, if any, in support of its ruling and shall transmit the case, together with all papers, documents, and evidence connected therewith, to the circuit court for a determination of constitutionality. Either party may file a brief with the circuit court. Either party may request oral argument before the circuit court. The circuit court shall give the issue priority on its docket. If the circuit court rules that the statute or local ordinance is unconstitutional, the Commonwealth or the locality may appeal such interlocutory order to the Court of Appeals and thereafter to the Supreme Court; however, if the circuit court rules that the statute or local ordinance is constitutional, the circuit court shall remand the case to the court not of record for trial consistent with the ruling of the circuit court.

2006, cc. 571, 876; 2010, cc. 303, 609.

§ 16.1-132. Right of appeal.

Any person convicted in a district court of an offense not felonious shall have the right, at any time within ten days from such conviction, and whether or not such conviction was upon a plea of guilty, to appeal to the circuit court. There shall also be an appeal of right from any order or judgment of a district court forfeiting any recognizance or revoking any suspension of sentence.

1956, c. 555.

§ 16.1-133. Withdrawal of appeal.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 16.1-135, any person convicted in a general district court, a juvenile and domestic relations district court, or a court of limited jurisdiction of an offense not felonious may, at any time before the appeal is heard, withdraw an appeal which has been noted, pay the fine and costs to such court, and serve any sentence which has been imposed.

A person withdrawing an appeal shall give written notice of withdrawal to the court and counsel for the prosecution prior to the hearing date of the appeal. If the appeal is withdrawn more than ten days after conviction, the circuit court shall forthwith enter an order affirming the judgment of the lower court and the clerk shall tax the costs as provided by statute. Fines and costs shall be collected by the circuit court, and all papers shall be retained in the circuit court clerk's office.

Where the withdrawal is within ten days after conviction, no additional costs shall be charged, and the judgment of the lower court shall be imposed without further action of the circuit court.

1956, c. 555; 1973, c. 18; 1974, c. 228; 1979, c. 536; 1982, c. 366; 1983, c. 105; 1990, c. 25.

§ 16.1-133.1. Reopening case after conviction.

Within sixty days from the date of conviction of any person in a general district court or juvenile and domestic relations district court for an offense not felonious, the case may be reopened upon the application of such person and for good cause shown. Such application shall be heard by the judge who presided at the trial in which the conviction was had, but if he be not in office, or be absent from the county or city or is otherwise unavailable to hear the application, it may be heard by his successor or by any other judge or substitute judge of such court. If the case is reopened after the case documents have been filed with the circuit court, the clerk of the circuit court shall return the case documents to the district court in which the case was originally tried.

1973, c. 440; 1975, c. 298; 1983, c. 21.

§ 16.1-134. Appeal by Commonwealth in revenue cases.

In any case involving the violation of a law relating to the state revenue tried in a court not of record under this title, the Commonwealth shall also have the right at any time within ten days from final judgment to appeal to the circuit court.

1956, c. 555.

§ 16.1-135. Bail and recognizance; papers filed with circuit court.

A person who has been convicted of an offense in a district court and who has noted an appeal, either at the time judgment is rendered or subsequent to its entry, shall be given credit for any bond that he may have posted in the court from which he appeals and shall be treated in accordance with the provisions of Article 1 (§ 19.2-119 et seq.) of Chapter 9 of Title 19.2. Any new bond which may be required for the release of such person pending the appeal shall be given before the judge or the clerk of the district court and treated in accordance with Article 1 of Chapter 9 of Title 19.2; however, if the judge or clerk is not available to take the bond, the bond may be given before a magistrate serving the jurisdiction. Whenever an appeal is taken and the ten-day period prescribed by § 16.1-133 has expired the papers shall be promptly filed with the clerk of the circuit court.

1956, c. 555; 1981, c. 159; 1999, cc. 829, 846; 2008, cc. 551, 691.

§ 16.1-136. How appeal tried.

Any appeal taken under the provisions of this chapter shall be heard de novo in the appellate court and shall be tried without formal pleadings in writing; and, except in the case of an appeal from any order or judgment of a court not of record forfeiting any recognizance or revoking any suspension of sentence, the accused shall be entitled to trial by a jury in the same manner as if he had been indicted for the offense in the circuit court.

1956, c. 555.

§ 16.1-137. Procedure on appeal when warrant defective.

Upon the trial of the warrant on appeal the court may, upon its own motion or upon the request either of the attorney for the prosecution or for the accused, amend the form of the warrant in any respect in which it appears to be defective. But when the warrant is so defective in form that it does not substantially appear from the same what is the offense with which the accused is charged, or even when it is not so seriously defective, the judge of the court having examined on oath the original complainant, if there be one, or if he sees good reason to believe that an offense has been committed, then without examination of witnesses, may issue under his own hand his warrant reciting the offense and requiring the defendant in the original warrant to be arrested and brought before him. Upon the arrest of the defendant on the new warrant and his production or appearance in court the trial shall proceed upon the new warrant. When there is an amendment of the original warrant the trial shall proceed on the amended warrant. But whether the warrant is amended or a new warrant is issued, the court before proceeding to trial on the same may grant a continuance to the prosecution or to the defendant upon such terms as to costs as may be proper under the circumstances of the case; provided, however, that if the warrant be amended or if a new warrant be issued after any evidence has been heard, the accused shall be entitled to a continuance as a matter of right.

When a warrant is amended or a new warrant is issued the costs already accrued shall be taxed against the defendant, if he is ultimately convicted, as a part of the costs arising under the new or amended warrant.

1956, c. 555; 1958, c. 399.

§ 16.1-138. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1983, c. 499.