Circuit Court Local Procedures - Criminal

Circuit Court of Alexandria local procedures for attorneys and pro se litigants - criminal cases.

Page updated on Aug 9, 2018 at 5:06 PM

Americans With Disabilities Act

The Court recognizes that there are persons with special needs who use the Court. Any person needing special accommodation should contact the Court Administrator at 703.746.4123.

Commonwealth Day

  • Non-jury criminal cases that will take 2 hours or less, pretrial motions, pleas, sentencing hearings and probation violation hearings are heard on every Thursday at 10:00 a.m., except the first Thursday of the month as detailed below.
    • Attorneys must contact the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office (703.746.4100) to place a case on the docket. Motions filed by defense counsel shall be docketed if the deadlines for filing motions as set forth below are met.
  • Regular Commonwealth Days (the second, third and fourth [and fifth, if there is one] Thursdays of the month) 
    • There will generally be three judges hearing a variety of matters in criminal cases.
  • First Thursday of each month 
    • Only one judge will hear Commonwealth Day cases on the first Thursday of the month. 
    • This docket will be for hearing time-sensitive matters and set dates only. 
      • Time sensitive matters include:  bond motions, furlough motions, motions to set aside the verdict, motions to reconsider (if the Court approves docketing the motion and if the defendant can be transported), pleas within a week of the scheduled trial, motions in limine (if it is the last Thursday before the trial date), motions for expert funds or for a competency evaluation, jury elections and motions to waive speedy trial.  
      • A judge will be assigned in advance to the courtroom for the First Thursday Commonwealth Day; however, other judges may hear cases in that courtroom as well if a time-sensitive matter needs to be heard by them and they are available.   
      • Questions about scheduling matters for Commonwealth Day may be directed to Molly Sullivan, the Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney at 703.746.4100.

Grand Jury

A Grand Jury is impaneled the second Monday of every month at 9 a.m., except in May, when the Grand Jury convenes on the third Monday.

Inclement Weather Policy

The Circuit Court will be closed when the City Government (not City schools) is closed or when the City Government is two (2) or more hours late in opening due to inclement weather.


  • Bond Motions
    • In general, bond motions are scheduled on a Commonwealth Day docket by contacting the Commonwealth's Attorney's office at 703.746.4100.
      • Where special circumstances exist, bond motions may be scheduled at 9 a.m. on a non-Commonwealth Day by contacting Judges’ Chambers (703.746.4123) for permission to docket the bond motion.  
    • Defense counsel is required to contact the Commonwealth's Attorney's office prior to docketing the bond motion. 
    • Notice of the bond motion should be provided to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office no later than the day preceding the hearing, and a courtesy copy delivered to Judges' Chambers.
    • Defense counsel shall prepare and bring a proposed bond order to the hearing. 
  • Deadline for filing motions other than bond motions
    • In order to allow both sides adequate time to prepare, Constitutional/substantive motions in criminal cases shall be filed two weeks prior to the hearing date and responses shall be filed one week prior to the hearing date. Counsel shall provide Judges' Chambers with courtesy copies of any such motions and responses. 
    • Non-substantive motions, including motions in limine to exclude or to allow evidence, motions for discovery or to compel, shall be filed no later than noon on the Friday preceding the Thursday Commonwealth Day hearing. Responses shall be filed by noon on the Tuesday preceding the hearing.
    • The parties may agree to a shorter time within which to file motions. If the parties are unable to agree, then, for good cause, counsel may seek leave of Court to file motions prior to the hearing within a shorter time than outlined above. 
  • Motions for Reconsideration. 
    • A letter addressed to the Judge must be filed in the Clerk's Office, and a courtesy copy delivered to the Judge, stating any new information that should be brought to the Judge's attention. The Judge may then give permission to place the matter on the Commonwealth Day docket.

Setting Criminal Trial Dates

  • Defense counsel should contact the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office immediately upon receipt of notice of indictment by the Grand Jury.
  • Criminal cases are tried within 60 days of indictment.
  • The Court furnishes the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office with a list of available trial dates for the 60-day period following each Grand Jury session, and trial dates may be set by telephone with the appropriate prosecutor.
  • Selection of dates for motions and trial must be completed within one week of indictment.
  • Non-criminal cases, motions and sentencing hearings are heard on Thursday Commonwealth Day (see Commonwealth Day section above).

Traffic & Misdemeanor Appeals 

Traffic and misdemeanor appeals are heard on the third Tuesday of each month beginning at 9 a.m.  This docket includes motions, jury and bench trials and petitions for restoration of driver's licenses.  

Vouchers for Court-Appointed Attorneys in Criminal Cases

  • Attorneys who accept criminal cases on a court-appointed basis are directed to submit complete and properly filled out payment vouchers to the Clerk's Office for approval by a Circuit Court judge.
  • Vouchers which are not properly filled out, including the "in court" and "out of court" time, the statutory fee amount owed and any waiver amount sought, will not be accepted and will be returned to the attorney. 
  • Court-appointed attorneys who hire other individuals, such as private investigators, mental health experts and the like, will be responsible for having those persons submit complete and properly filled out payment vouchers to the Clerk's Office for approval by a Circuit Court judge.