Congressional District: 1
The Commonwealth's Attorney represents the people of Virginia in prosecuting criminal cases. The position is similar to that of the 'District Attorney' in many other states. The Commonwealth's Attorney, elected by the people to a four year term, typically appoints one or more assistants to handle cases under his or her supervision.
All Commonwealth's Attorneys prosecute the most serious crimes, known as felonies, including murder, rape, and robbery. In many jurisdictions, they also prosecute misdemeanors and violations of local ordinances, including traffic offenses.
In the largest counties and cities, Commonwealth's Attorneys serve as full-time prosecutors. In some smaller localities, they are paid a part-time salary and may maintain a private practice.
Commonwealth's Attorneys have numerous other duties and responsibilities as set forth in the Virginia Constitution and Virginia Code.
Each year the Commonwealth's Attorney's office commences felony cases in Circuit Court and, in addition, tried misdemeanor offenses appealed from lower courts. Before a felony case is set for trial, it is presented to a grand jury, which sits once a month, in order to determine whether there is a probable cause to bring an indictment against the defendant. The defendant, the prosecutor, or the court have the option of electing whether the matter will be tried by a jury or heard by a judge sitting without a jury.
General District Traffic Court
Due to the large number of traffic matters brought in the General District court each year, the Commonwealth's Attorney limits resources to the prosecution of the more serious offenses, with an emphasis on matters which carry a possible jail sentence, such as drunk driving, reckless driving and driving on a suspended or revoked license. Traffic court begins daily at 9 am. Many of the less serious infractions are heard directly by the court without participation of a prosecutor.
Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court
Cases involving juvenile victims or defendants, and cases involving family members are prosecuted in this court.
Victim Witness Assistance
The Stafford County Victim Witness Office provides support and advocacy for victims and witnesses of crime. The office assists witnesses required to testify in court and assists with victim compensation and victim impact statements.