The Virginia criminal justice system is a complex institution that often leaves criminal defendants confused about their rights and remedies. In most Virginia criminal cases, a defendant can appeal a conviction after a court or jury finds them guilty. The United States Constitution and state laws govern what cases and issues a defendant may appeal. Many defendants unknowingly forfeit their rights to appeal because of the fundamental disparity in power during these proceedings. Appeals can take a significant amount of time, and it is essential that criminal defendants seek assistance to ensure that they present all relevant appeals to the court.
In some cases, a criminal defendant may appeal several issues based on various procedural or statutory errors. For instance, recently, a Virginia defendant appealed his conviction based on eight issues. The defendant appealed his drug possession with intent to distribute conviction and his revocation of a suspended sentence. His crux of the appeal was based on an alleged violation of his Fourth Amendment rights and his assertion that the Commonwealth made erroneous additions to his transcript.
In cases where a Virginia appellant contests their conviction, the court should address each assignment of error. Here, the appeals court addressed each issue in their opinion and ultimately affirmed the conviction. In some instances, a court may deny an otherwise meritorious appeal because of a procedural issue. These situations illustrate the importance of retaining a criminal defense attorney who has a comprehensive understanding of Virginia criminal procedure.
For example, in this case, the appellant argued that the trial court erred in making additions to a transcript. The trial transcript was prepared for an appeal, and the parties discovered that the court reporter did not capture the final portion of the judge’s ruling. As such, the defendant requested that the trial judge complete the transcript, and provide his full basis for determining that the evidence was sufficient to convict him. Under Virginia Rule 5A:8(d), the defendant could have objected to the additions. However, to do so, the defendant must file a notice within 15 days of the written statement, and the court then has ten days to overrule the objection or correct the defect. In this case, the defendant did not comply with the rule, and therefore, the court declined to review the claim of error.
Are You Facing Virginia Criminal Charges?
If you have been arrested for a criminal offense in Virginia, contact the attorneys at Robinson Law. The attorneys at our office have over 50 years of combined experience representing adult and juvenile criminal defendants. We maintain an active practice, and our attorneys are up-to-date on all relevant statutory and procedural laws that may impact a defendant. We handle all types of criminal offenses stemming from Virginia assault offenses, allegations of domestic charges, drug charges, DUIs, federal crimes, traffic violations, and sex crimes. Our attorneys understand the importance of anticipating potential issues and developing a strong criminal defense. Contact our office at 703-542-3616, to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our law firm.