Richmond General District Court
There are two Courts in the City of Richmond that hear traffic related matters. One is located in Manchester, South of the James River off Hull Street, however the majority of cases are tried in the John Marshall Courts Building located downtown off 9th Street. You can get to the John Marshall Court’s building via interstate 95 or 195, by taking exits to get on Broad Street (rt. 250) and turning off unto 9th street. The City of Richmond Government Office is across the street and the Richmond Coliseum is a located nearby. Once in the John Marshall Court’s Building you will find the traffic courts on the second floor. To get there, after you pass through security head to the elevators located down the hallway and take one to the second floor. There are two traffic Courts on the 2nd floor (208 and 210) and you can find your case information on the dockets posted outside each Courtroom.
What Other Types of Cases Are Heard in Richmond General District Court?
The Richmond General District Court hears both civil and criminal/traffic cases. Criminal and traffic cases are heard in the General District Court by a judge not a jury. There are three Judges that normally hear cases in the John Marshall Court’s building.
The District Court hears cases ranging from basic traffic tickets to preliminary hearings on felony charges. Reckless driving and DUI cases are heard and finalized in General District Court. The Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Office will serve as prosecutors for the State. In cases where a Commonwealth’s Attorney is involved, a defense attorney can attempt to negotiate a plea agreement or resolution of the matter. There is a ten (10) day automatic right of appeal on all cases in General District Court.
Prohibited Items In Richmond General District Court
Cellphones are not allowed in the Courthouse. If you have a cellphone in the Courthouse and it goes off they will ask you to leave and place it in your car. If your case is called while you are doing this, the Judge will hear your case in your absence (often finding your guilty). In addition, you are also not allowed to bring books, newspapers and cameras into the Courthouse. Unfortunately there no lockers or storage areas in the Courthouse so all belongings that are not allowed should remain in your car.
Where Can I Park at Richmond General District Court?
Parking for the John Marshall Court’s Building can sometimes be difficult. There are numerous lots located around the building however some of these fill up quickly. There is also a parking garage located across the street which typically has availability. There is no free parking in and around the Courthouse. There are numerous restaurants within short walking distance. In addition, Carytown and Shockoe Slip, which include many locations to eat, are a short drive away.
Court Etiquette For Richmond General District Court
While you do not have to wear a suit and tie to Court, I recommend professional dress or business casual. The Court forbids shorts, tank-tops, or other overtly revealing clothing. I recommend showing up for you Court matter at least fifteen minutes early. While the dockets in Richmond often get backed up due to the heavy caseload, if you are not in the Courtroom when your case is called the Judge will try you in your absence.
Court etiquette is extremely important as it can impact the outcome of your case. You should always be respectful to the Judge, Bailiffs, and Officers present. While you can be forceful in presenting your case, you should not raise your voice, swear, or interrupt others during your hearing. Common mistakes people make is when they roll their eyes, make noises or gestures when someone is testifying, and being disrespectful to the Judge or others during trial. When your reputation and character are in question during a criminal or traffic matter, how you present yourself is extremely important.
Common Mistakes in Richmond General District Court
Some other common mistakes individuals make in Court is in how they present their case. The Court hears hundreds of cases each day, so it is best to be short and to the point in presenting your matter. Stick to the facts of the case and be able to support with documentation or witness testimony any theories or arguments you wish to present. If you present irrelevant information or unfounded arguments you can confuse the Court and harm your case. This is why having the expertise of a seasoned attorney is so important. Our attorneys have knowledge of the Richmond Court and an understanding of how to present your case in such a way to obtain the best results possible.
(Photo courtesy of Richmond City’s Website)