Basic Court Information
When to Call the Victim-Witness Assistance Program
Call your local Victim-Witness Program in the event that you:
In York County and Poquoson, the phone number for the Victim-Witness Assistance Program is 757-890-3402.
The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office for York County and the City of Poquoson are involved in all felony charges in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, General District Court, or Circuit Court, as well as all misdemeanors that are appealed to the Circuit Court. In Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office prosecutes all charges against juveniles except possession of tobacco and traffic matters; these are prosecuted by the law enforcement agent who took out the charge.
For adult defendants in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, the Commonwealth Attorney's Office is involved in domestic assaults, drug-related charges, firearm-related charges, and all felonies. In General District Court, the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office prosecutes all felonies, but a more limited numbers of misdemeanors. As a rule, the office prosecutes DUIs, drug, weapon, sexual battery, and stalking misdemeanor charges. The Commonwealth may become involved in other misdemeanors at their discretion, or upon victim/witness request.
The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office for York County and the City of Poquoson has a "no drop" policy on all charges. Once charges are filed and the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office decides to proceed with the case, you can no longer withdraw charges.
Because the defendant has broken a law of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office must prosecute the crime. Only a prosecutor handling the case can request a dismissal of the charges. Only the Court has the authority to dismiss, or "drop" charges.
In most cases, if the defendant pleads guilty, you will not have to testify. Plea agreements can occur in both misdemeanors and felonies. The prosecutor may agree to modify the charges or recommend that a defendant receive a certain sentence in return for a plea of guilty.
If you are the victim of the crime, you have the right to be notified if there are plea agreement negotiations in your case. You must submit your request in writing. Victim-Witness Assistance staff can assist you with requesting notification if you call 757-890-3402. However, even if you do not formally request notification of a plea agreement, the prosecutor handling your case will try to contact you before a plea agreement is formalized. If you do not understand the agreement, or have questions about it, ask the attorney for a full explanation.
Threats & Intimidation
Threatening a witness is a crime in Virginia. If you receive a threat from the defendant or anyone else, contact your local police immediately and then call the Victim-Witness Program at 757-890-3402.
As a crime victim or witness you will be receiving a subpoena. This is a court document requiring you to be present in court at the time and place stated. Your first personal contact may be for pre-trial preparation, when the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office calls to discuss the facts of the case with you. When you come to court for trial, you will be sworn in.
The defendant may ask the judge to have the witnesses remain outside the courtroom until they are called on to testify. Bring a book to read to pass the time. When on the stand, you will be questioned first by the prosecuting attorney and then by the defense attorney.