Appealing a Misdemeanor or Traffic Conviction in Virginia

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Virginia Criminal Lawyer
Brenton D. Vincenzes
Explains Misdemeanor and Traffic Appeals Following a Conviction

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People come to me all the time [to inquire about a misdemeanor or traffic appeal]. Unfortunately [many wait too long] after conviction of a misdemeanor or traffic case. Maybe it is because they forgot to go to court, or maybe it is because they decided they did not want an attorney to handle the matter. They have been convicted, and have a situation now where perhaps an employer has done a background check, or they want a job and they have to disclose any convictions they have had. Even though it is a misdemeanor, certain misdemeanors can be very unappealing to employers, such as assault charges, drug possession charges, and a ton of others.

Do Not Delay in Contacting a Virginia Criminal Lawyer: There are Very Strict Time Limits

Ask a Local Virginia Criminal Lawyer about:
Appealing a Misdemeanor for a New Trial

First, an appeal from a general district court decision has to be done very quickly. Unfortunately a lot of people call my office and we have to tell them it is too late to go that route, because it must be done, that is, [they or their attorney must] file a notice of appeal in 10 days…calendar days that is, not business days… of a conviction.

Ask a Local Virginia Criminal Lawyer about:
Filing a Motion to Reopen

So, I tell people if that is not available, there is another option. It is called a Motion to reopen and it has less stringent date requirements. It can be filed within 60 days of a conviction. And what that does is, it allows that case to stay in general district court as opposed to appealing, where it would go to the circuit court for a new trial.

Reopening stays in the district court, and the judge who presided over the first proceeding will look at the case, consider any new evidence, and if there is a good reason why someone did not show up and was found guilty in their absence, the judge might consider that as well. Those are two things you can do [if you are not happy with the way your misdemeanor criminal case or traffic infraction turned out].

I strongly recommend talking to an attorney if you are in a position where you have something on your record, and you either had a bad experience with a lawyer, you decided to represent yourself,  or you just could not show up for court (and you have a good reason). After that, you may want to ask about expungement (sealing the charge from public view).

For more information about the judicial system in Virginia, including information about the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court (in Virginia), visit our Virginia judicial system page. To contact our Virginia criminal lawyer for a free consultation, contact our firm, here.

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Brenton D. Vincenzes is a lifelong Fairfax County resident and Fairfax Criminal Defense Lawyer. He is a member of the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National College of DUI Defense, NORML, and has been awarded the following in 2014-15: Top 100 Trial Lawyer (National Trial Lawyers) Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyer (National Trial Lawyers) Nationally Ranked Top 10 Under 40 Defense Attorney (National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys) 10 Best in Client Satisfaction for Criminal Defense (American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys) Nationally Ranked Top 1% Attorney Award Recipient (National Association of Distinguished Counsel) As a local leader, Mr. Vincenzes mentors troubled youths, volunteers his time to serve at his church, takes select pro bono clients, and strives to improve the community. Mr. Vincenzes represents men, women, and juveniles through zealous and diligent advocacy, strategic planning, and skilled trial work preparation. Mr. Vincenzes' areas of criminal law practice are broad, and include most felonies and misdemeanors such as: reckless driving, DUI & DWI, drug offenses, assault and battery, domestic violence, assault on an officer, destruction of property, alcohol offenses, firearm offenses, larceny, shoplifting, embezzlement, fraud, and other theft offenses, and moving traffic violations among others. His private legal services are available in most Northern Virginia jurisdictions, including Fairfax County, Arlington County, Prince William County, Loudoun County, Stafford County, Alexandria, Manassas, Leesburg, South Riding, and other cities and towns.

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