Manassas Office: Defense Attorney Steve Duckett
If you are looking for an experienced attorney in Virginia, my office is located in 9119 Church St. right in downtown Manassas. We’re just a couple of blocks away from the courthouse. Our offices are in a plantation-style home that has been broken apart into different law offices. There are about four or five other attorneys here that are not affiliated with our firm. We take up the first floor and the conference room of this old building. It’s really quite nice here.
The Advantages of Having an Attorney With Local Experience
Prince William County bar is a pretty tight-knit community in that a lot of the lawyers and prosecutors know each other quite well and that goes for the judges too. Hiring somebody who doesn’t routinely practice in Prince William County, could be a mistake.
Manassas Courts and the Virginia Court System
In Manassas, there are three levels of court. On the first floor, you have the Juvenile Domestic Relations District Court. That is a court of original jurisdiction for all cases having to do with minors and also, all cases having to do with adults who are related by marriage or by blood. Common example cases that you see in juvenile domestic relations court are domestic assault and battery; any juvenile offense certainly will be heard there. And that is a district court which means it is a court not of record, so there’s not a place for you to have a jury trial in Juvenile Relations District Court.
On the second floor, they have General District Court, which is also a court not of record, and that is adult court. Essentially, any crime or traffic offense committed by an adult will be heard there. This is where we predominantly see things like shoplifting, DWIs, possession of marijuana and things of that nature. Misdemeanor cases are typically heard in General District Court.
The district courts – both the juvenile and the general district court – are also where felonies begin at the preliminary hearing level and once felony cases get past preliminary hearing level, they go to Circuit Court.
The Circuit Court is on the third floor of the courthouse. All felonies are disposed of in the Circuit Court.
Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies
The difference between a felony and a misdemeanor charge is that a felony charge is always considered to be more serious by the government and are therefore punished more severely than misdemeanors. For a felony charges, the minimum punishment is a year in prison, whereas if it’s a misdemeanor charge, the maximum is one year in jail. That’s the biggest difference. If you’re charged with a felony, you could go to prison, whereas if you’re charged with a misdemeanor you can get into jail for up to a year, but no more than that.
The other big difference between a felony and misdemeanor is that if the person is convicted of a felony they will ultimately lose their right to vote, they will lose their right to bear arms, and things of that nature. So, you lose certain civil rights as a result of having a felony conviction and you don’t have any of those things happen to you when you’re charged with a misdemeanor.
Additionally, misdemeanors are heard in General District Court and felonies are ultimately heard in Circuit Court.
In conclusion, however, it is important to keep in mind that criminal cases in Manassas are always heard at the Prince William County Courthouse on Lee Avenue right in downtown Manassas.