If you’re facing criminal charges in Richmond, or anywhere in Virginia, you may not realize you have the right to a jury trial. An experienced Richmond criminal defense lawyer can assess your case and help you understand whether requesting a trial by jury might improve your outcome in court.
Criminal charges aren’t just stressful; sentencing can bring life-altering outcomes, including many years lost behind bars. It’s a mistake to head into a criminal hearing without first having a Richmond criminal defense lawyer determine whether a jury trial is best for your case.
Attorney Cody Villalon is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Richmond. He has a long track record of successfully helping clients achieve positive outcomes in criminal cases.
An experienced Richmond attorney builds a strong criminal defense and helps you choose between a judge and jury trial. Call Cody Villalon today at (804) 316-0765.
Cody Villalon is a solo practitioner in Virginia criminal law. He helps clients throughout the state of Virginia fight back against criminal charges. Cody is a dedicated, compassionate criminal defense attorney. He handles every case personally, building a relationship with each client. Clients who work with Cody know that he always makes the time for questions and concerns — and that he cares deeply about the future of those he represents. Cody’s client testimonials show firsthand the satisfaction and gratitude of former clients for his dedicated representation.
Cody Villalon doesn’t just set clients at ease in the office or over the phone; he also achieves impressive results in the courtroom. With over a decade of legal experience, he is known and respected by Richmond judges and prosecutors alike. Cody has ample experience pursuing both judge and jury verdicts. This experience helps him determine which type of trial is most likely to bring a better outcome in each case. His thorough preparation and aggressive defense ensure that every angle of a case is considered and pursued when defending clients from criminal charges.
The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants the right to trial by jury in the face of criminal charges. In the state of Virginia, criminal cases are heard in either the general district court or the circuit court. Misdemeanor charges are usually heard in the general district court, while felony charges are ultimately heard in the circuit court.
Virginia state law respects the right to trial by jury in felony cases alone. The one exception is in the event of a misdemeanor appeal. If you’re facing felony charges in Virginia, you will always have the right to request a trial by jury rather than judge.
In many cases involving felony criminal charges, the accused doesn’t realize they have this option or may not understand the benefits. A less experienced attorney, or one who hopes to keep court proceedings simplified, might discourage a jury trial. It’s not a good sign when your criminal defense attorney fails to inform you that you have a right to a jury or to advise you on the full scope of your rights under Virginia law, especially in a case involving the weighty penalties that accompany a criminal conviction. Jury trials involve risk and can take a lot of time to prepare properly but they are the best option in many cases.
Clients often ask Cody Villalon two questions: “Is there a constitutional right to a jury trial?” and “Do I have a right to a jury trial?”
You have a constitutional right to a trial by jury — but only under certain circumstances. If your charges qualify you for the possibility of a trial by jury, the bigger question is this: Is a trial by jury the right option for you?
Attorney Cody Villalon diligently works with each client to ensure they’re fully informed of their legal rights and options. Cody will assess your case and identify whether invoking your right to jury trial is in your best interests.
In determining whether a jury trial will help your outcome, Cody will consider questions like these:
No two cases are alike, which means that you need a knowledgeable Richmond criminal defense attorney like Cody Villalon to consider all the possible options in your case. You also need to make sure you have an experienced attorney who knows how to win a jury and who is not afraid to go to trial.
Cody Villalon has defended well over 1,000 cases, clocking over 5,000 hours in the courtroom. He has over a decade of experience in Virginia criminal defense, which informs how he advises you and the judgment calls he makes. From DUIs to violent offenses, Cody has handled all types of Virginia criminal cases. He has won juries involving serious violent felonies all the way down to simple misdemeanors. If you’re facing criminal charges in Richmond, don’t act until you’re aware of all your options — including whether a trial by jury can turn the tide on your court outcome.
Time is limited for requesting a trial by jury in Richmond criminal proceedings, which means you need to act quickly. Call (804) 316-0765 to arrange a free consultation with Cody Villalon today.
Yes, there is a constitutional right to trial by jury — but only for serious offenses. This right to a trial by jury is granted in the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution.
If you’re facing a misdemeanor charge, you likely want to know the answer to this question: “Is there a constitutional right to a jury trial for smaller offenses?” The answer to this is ultimately yes, but it takes a longer process to get there. There is no right to a jury in the General District Court where the vast majority of misdemeanors are initially tired. However, all misdemeanors can be appealed to the Circuit Court if the appeal is timely noted. Once in Circuit Court, the Defendant has the right to request a jury even on a misdemeanor.
In the state of Virginia, you have the right to a jury trial if you’re facing felony charges, or if you’re appealing the ruling on a misdemeanor.
Clients often ask, “Do I have a right to a jury trial?” because they believe that a jury might be more lenient than a judge. In reality, whether you should choose a jury verdict, or a bench verdict depends heavily on the details in your case. Working with a knowledgeable Richmond criminal defense lawyer is the best way to ensure you’re choosing the option most likely to bring you the outcome you’re hoping for.
Whether a judge or jury is better is a question unique to every case. Both options have benefits and downsides. Jurors can be more lenient and empathetic. This also means they’re more likely to be swayed by emotion. A judge is more likely less emotional, and bench trials also tend to resolve more quickly than jury trials.
A lawyer will need to hear the details of your case before advising you on which option you should choose.
Not long ago, Virginia was one of very few states in the nation that required juries to sentence if they convicted. Juries are not shown sentencing guidelines in Virginia and are also not allowed to suspend any time. This created an extraordinary number of risks for the defense because often the jury was the best chance of winning the case but would also likely give a far harsher sentence if the Defendant was convicted. This made jury trials relatively rare in Virginia.
Fortunately, Virginia changed the laws surrounding jury trials recently. A Defendant can now be sentenced by the judge if the jury convicts them, or they can elect for jury sentencing if they give the proper notice to the court. This makes jury trials a far more appealing option with less risk than they used to involve. The number of jury trials requested has increased dramatically since the change in the law.
In Virginia, your criminal defense lawyer can disclose to the court that you are requesting a trial by jury. Some jurisdictions will ask the Defendant directly with the attorney present. The choice is always the clients, although a lawyer’s advice should generally be relied on. A lawyer needs to assess your case, advise you on which type of trial is best for you, and if necessary, submit the notice of your request for trial by jury.
Opting for a jury trial typically makes court proceedings take longer. This is because a jury involves the additional legal steps of the jury selection process and then jury deliberation. Because it takes more time, the court generally needs more available time to schedule jury trials. This means that they are normally scheduled farther out than bench trials.
However, the increased time for a jury trial could pay off with a better outcome than you would have received from a bench ruling. An experienced lawyer will advise choosing a jury trial only if they believe it will benefit your case.
If you still have questions, reach out. Our Richmond criminal defense attorney knows that it may be hard to understand your rights, and we’re here to help.
Trial by jury brings unique benefits that you don’t receive when you opt for a trial by judge, also called a bench trial.
First, there’s the number of jurors. In a bench trial, the judge alone determines whether you should be convicted. With a jury, 12 people will decide your fate if you are charged with a felony — and you only need to convince one of them to turn the case in your favor. Seven jurors are used if you are only charged with a misdemeanor.
A jury is also made up of regular people. This means they’re more likely to sympathize with your situation. For example, regular citizens might be far more likely to question the word of a police officer who made a mistake. A judge might not want to openly question the officer’s word since they see them regularly. A jury of your peers should understand how important it is to fully question whether to believe all the witnesses. A jury might be more likely to empathize and rule in your favor. Generally, jurors view reasonable doubt as a high standard and don’t want to be responsible for sending someone to prison unless they are certain of guilt.
On the other hand, a judge is less likely to show sympathy for breaking the law. Judges have a duty to uphold the law, so they are more likely to carefully consider the evidence and rule accordingly. Judges have also found countless people guilty in the past and sentenced them. It is something they are more accustomed to than average citizens.
Finally, jurors aren’t trained in the legal profession. A jury is less likely to ask difficult questions, refer to legal precedents, or consider details related to evidence or the law. A judge is likely to be more detailed with questions and case analysis. This can cut both ways depending on the particular facts of the case.
Invoking your Sixth Amendment right to jury trial might be the determining factor in your case. However, choosing a jury over a judge isn’t always the right decision. It takes an experienced Richmond criminal defense attorney to consider all aspects of your case and advise you on the best course of action. Cody Villalon, Attorney at Law, has this experience — and a track record of successful outcomes for his clients.
If you’re facing criminal charges in Richmond, you have very little time to explore the option of a trial by jury. Don’t delay: Arrange a free consultation by calling Cody Villalon at (804) 316-0765 today.