Circuit Court Local Procedures - Criminal

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

Page updated on Jul 23, 2021 at 12:44 PM

JUDGES' CHAMBERS' email box deactivated effective 5/3/2021

  • Effective 5/3/2021, CircuitCourtChambers@alexandriava.gov will be deactivated. 
    • All courtesy copies should be hand-delivered to the Circuit Court Judges’ Chambers’ drop box located on the 4th floor of the Courthouse.
      DO NOT use the Clerk of Circuit Court's drop box in the courthouse vestibule, as the receipt of the documents in Judges' Chambers will be delayed.
  • Please call Judges’ Chambers (703.746.4123) if you have any questions.



1.   Americans With Disabilities Act

The Court recognizes that there are persons with special needs who use the Court. Any person needing reasonable accommodation should contact Circuit Court Judges' Chambers at 703.746.4123.


2.   Calendars 

  • Circuit Court Calendar  - Annual Calendar, including holidays, updated as needed (Last update: 4/22/2021)
  •  Calendar of Available Criminal Trial Slots   (Last update: 7/23/2021 at 12:00pm).
    The criminal trial calendar, showing available slots for jury trials, non-jury trials and motions is updated and posted weekly.  
    • Bond motions - The preference is to hear bond motions on any Commonwealth Day at 10:00 a.m. The alternative is to hear bond motions at 9:45 a.m. on a non-CW Day (a Thursday on a week during which there is no Civil Motions Day; see calendar). The final option is to hear bond motions at 9:45 a.m. on a day other than Thursday (the defendant must waive appearance on any non-Thursday bond motion hearing because the polycomm is not available on non-Thursdays).
    • Commonwealth Day will be held twice a month at 10:00 a.m., generally on the second and fourth Thursday of the month, on the same week in which there is a civil motions day.
      • The CW Day docket will be prepared for two judges. One judge will preside over all custody cases, and one judge will preside over non-custody cases in a different courtroom. If necessary, due to number of cases to be heard, the dockets may be divided into a 10:00 a.m. docket and a 2:00 p.m. docket. Either or both judges may hear cases scheduled on the 2:00 p.m. docket.
    • Jury trials start at 10:00 a.m., including jury trials on Traffic/Misdemeanor Appeals (third Tuesday of the month).
    • Motions to be heard on non-CW Days Fridays at 10:00 a.m. - During weeks when there is no CW Day docket, the Court may hear pre-trial motions requiring a length evidentiary hearing or motions that were not able to be scheduled on a CW Day docket due to witness unavailability or other good cause. Counsel seeking to schedule a motion on a Friday shall provide reasonable notice to opposing counsel and shall confer with opposing counsel prior to scheduling a hearing on the motion. 
                When it is necessary to schedule a motion to be heard on a Friday, could shall (a) contact Judges' Chambers as far in advance as possible for permission to schedule the motion, and (b) contact the Commonwealth's Attorney's office to docket the motion. Judges' Chambers will conform a judge and courtroom are available and schedule a court reporter. Counsel shall request permission from Judges' Chambers to transport the defendant to the courthouse if desired.
    • Set date discussions will be in the courtroom, either on Commonwealth Day or Traffic/Misdemeanor Appeal Day.  Telephone calls and emails to Chambers regarding set-date matters will not be accepted.
    • Traffic and Misdemeanor Appeals are on the third Tuesday of the month at 9:00 a.m.
  • Guidance: Change in Court's Docket Pertaining to Criminal Jury Trials and Motions (February 19, 2021)

  • To access the Court's calendars 


3.   Commonwealth Day and Addendum

  • See Change in Court's Docket Pertaining to Criminal Jury Trials and Motions memorandum dated February 19, 2021. 
  • The Commonwealth Day docket will include non-jury criminal cases that will take 2 hours or less, pretrial motions, pleas, sentencing hearings and probation violation hearings.
  • Commonwealth Day will be held twice a month, generally on the second and fourth Thursday of the month at 10:00 a.m. (see Circuit Court calendar posted above for exceptions). 
    • There will generally be two judges hearing a variety of matters in criminal cases. One judge will preside over all custody cases in CC4 and one judge will preside over non‑custody cases in a different courtroom. If necessary due to the number of cases to be heard, the dockets may be divided into a 10:00 a.m. docket and a 2:00 p.m. docket. Either or both judges may hear cases scheduled on the 2:00 p.m. docket depending on the number of cases.
    • 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.
    • Questions about scheduling matters for Commonwealth Day may be directed to the Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney at 703.746.4100.
  • Addendum for Commonwealth Day
    • Bond motions – see Motions section below.
    • Motions other than bond motions may be scheduled by
      • Permission to schedule - Contact Judges' Chambers (703.746.4123). The Commonwealth's Attorney's office or defense counsel must be available and agree to have the motion placed on the addendum. 
      • Place on the addendum - Contact the Commonwealth's Attorney's office (703.746.4100) to docket the motion. 
      • Courtesy copy - A courtesy copy of the motion and proposed order must be delivered or emailed to Judges' Chambers and Commonwealth's Attorney's office or defense counsel ASAP after scheduling the motion.
    • Dispositions by Plea may be scheduled by contacting the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office (703.746.4100) to have the disposition by plea placed on the addendum. There is no need to call Judges’ Chambers prior to scheduling a disposition by plea on the addendum.         
  • Set-dates on Commonwealth Day  
    • Based upon the Court's Revised Plan for Resuming Jury Trials approved by the Virginia Supreme Court on February 25, 2021, the Court will schedule up to two jury trials to begin each week.
      • If a trial is expected to last five days, only one trial will be scheduled and set to begin on a Monday.  
      • Two trials will be set in a week if both trials are expected to last three days or less with the first trial beginning on a Monday and the second trial beginning on a Wednesday.  
      • The criminal trial calendar, showing available slots for jury trials, non-jury trials (scheduled for more than two (2) hours) and motions, is available under Calendars above.  Non-jury trials  and motions scheduled for less than two (2) hours should be scheduled for a Commonwealth Day.
      • The judge presiding over the Commonwealth Day docket that includes the set date matters shall have the calendar available in Court. When the parties are unable to agree to a set date, the Court shall provide counsel with available dates, giving priority to those cases involving in-custody defendants if possible. The expectation is older cases will be set on the earliest available trial date. 


      4.   Grand Jury

      A Grand Jury is impaneled on the second Monday of every month at 9:00 a.m., except in May, when the Grand Jury convenes on the third Monday.

      • See Circuit Court calendar posted above for specific dates of Grand Jury.
      • During COVID-19, a Grand Jury may not be empaneled every month.


      5.   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.


      6.  Motions

      • Bond Motions
        • The original bond motion must be filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court (Room 307; 703.746.4044).
        • Copies must be provided to both the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office and Judges’ Chambers. 
        • Defense counsel shall bring a proposed bond order to the hearing.
        • Options for having the bond motion heard are as follows:
        • On Commonwealth Day, including the addendum
          • at 10:00 a.m.
            • Commonwealth Day is twice a month, generally on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 10:00 a.m. (see Circuit Court calendar posted above for specific dates of Commonwealth Day).  
          • Contact the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office at 703.746.4100 to schedule the bond motion. There is no need to contact Judges’ Chambers except to provide a copy of the bond motion.
        • On a Thursday during a week when there is not a Commonwealth Day docket
          • at 9:45 a.m.
            • Permission to schedule - Contact Judges’ Chambers at 703.746.4123 no later than Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. and provide a copy of the bond motion to Judges’ Chambers.     
            • Place on the docket - Contact the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office at 703.746.4100 to docket the motion and provide a copy of the bond motion to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.
        • On a day other than a Thursday
          • at 9:45 a.m.
            • Where special circumstances exist, bond motions may be scheduled at 9:45 a.m. on a day other than a Thursday by contacting Judges’ Chambers (703.746.4123) for permission to docket the bond motion.  The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office must be available and agree to have the bond motion placed on the non‑Commonwealth Day docket. The original bond motion must be filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court and a courtesy copy of the motion and proposed order must be delivered to Judges’ Chambers and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office ASAP after scheduling the bond motion. 
           
      • Motions Other Than Bond Motions
        • Constitutional/substantive motions
          • at 10:00 a.m. on a Thursday Commonwealth Day, or 
          • On Friday mornings beginning at 10:00 a.m. (see below).
            • In order to allow both sides adequate time to prepare, Constitutional/substantive motions in criminal cases shall be 
              • filed two (2) weeks prior to the hearing date and responses shall be filed one (1) 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
          • at 10:00 a.m. on a Thursday Commonwealth Day
            • The motion shall be filed no later than 12:00 p.m. on the Friday preceding the Thursday Commonwealth Day hearing. Responses shall be filed by 12:00 p.m. on the Tuesday preceding the hearing. In the event of a Monday holiday occurring between the filing deadline and the hearing date, motions shall be filed no later than 12:00 p.m. on the Thursday preceding the hearing
              • The parties may agree to a shorter time within which to file motions. In such instances, a courtesy copy of the motion shall be delivered to Judges' Chambers.
                • 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. 
        • Scheduling Motions To Be Heard on a Friday  
          • On Friday mornings beginning at 10:00 a.m., during weeks when there is no Commonwealth Day docket, the Court may hear pre-trial motions requiring a lengthy evidentiary hearing, bond motions or motions that were not able to be scheduled on a Commonwealth Day docket due to witness unavailability or other good cause.
          • When it is necessary to schedule a motion to be heard on a Friday,
            • Counsel seeking to schedule a motion shall provide reasonable notice to opposing counsel and shall confer with opposing counsel prior to scheduling a hearing on the motion.
              • Permission to schedule - Counsel shall contact Judges’ Chambers as far in advance as possible for permission to schedule the motion. Judges’ Chambers will confirm a judge and courtroom are available and schedule a court reporter. 
              • Docket the motion - Contact the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office to docket the motion.
              • Transport the defendant - Counsel shall request permission from Judges’ Chambers to transport the defendant to the courthouse if desired.
      • Motions for Reconsideration - A letter addressed to the Judge must be filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court, 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.


      7.  Setting Criminal Trial or Motion Dates

      • Set Date Docket
        • At 10:00 a.m. on a Thursday Commonwealth Day, or
        • At 9:00 a.m. on a Thursday non-Commonwealth Day  
      • Indictment/Set Date - Defense counsel should contact the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office (703.746.4100) immediately upon notice of indictment by the Grand Jury.
        • Calendar showing available slots for jury trials, non-jury trials, motions is available at   www.alexandriava.gov/CircuitCourt >>  Local Procedures-Criminal >>   Calendars 
        • Set dates for motions and trial must be completed within one week of indictment.
        • Non-jury trials  and motions less than 2 hours should be scheduled for a Thursday Commonwealth Day at 10:00 a.m.
      • Documents

      8.  Traffic & Misdemeanor Appeals ("TMAD") 

      • TMAD is the third Tuesday of each month beginning at 9:00 a.m.  
      • Docket includes motions, jury trials, bench trials scheduled for less than two (2) hours, and petitions for restoration of driver's licenses.  
      • During COVID-19, 
        • Jury trials for misdemeanor appeals may be scheduled for TMAD or a date other than TMAD.
        • All Jury trials will start at 10:00 a.m., including jury trials for misdemeanor appeals.


      9.  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.



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