F.A.Q.s & Resources

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Frequently Asked Questions

I am the victim in a domestic violence case and I would like to drop the charges.The decision to drop charges in any criminal prosecution can only be made by the prosecutor with the approval of a Judge.  The victim’s wishes alone do not dictate whether or not a case will be filed or dismissed.

What happens if I was issued a subpoena for court and I don’t show up?
If you do not have permission to be excused from court by the Commonwealth Attorney prosecuting the case, or the defense attorney if he/she had you subpoenaed, the court can issue a capias for your arrest for failure to appear.  Contact phone numbers are provided on the subpoena to assist you in contacting the attorney should the need arise.

What is a preliminary hearing, and do I need to be there?
A preliminary hearing is a scheduled court event with testimony under oath.  The Judge, defendant, defendant’s attorney, the prosecutor and all victims and/or witnesses subpoenaed are present.  The prosecutor must prove to the Judge that there is enough evidence to show that a crime has been committed (known as probable cause).

What is a bond hearing and what is the victim’s role?
The defendant may request a bond hearing in which the Judge reviews the defendant’s current bond and determines whether or not to reduce it.  The victim has the right to be notified of such proceedings and may address the court.  The victim informs the court of any reason why the defendant should not receive a reduction of bond.

What happens if I can’t pay the medical expenses which resulted from a crime?
Victims of crimes who suffer from physical injuries as a result of a crime may be eligible for state compensation to cover medical expenses, psychological counseling, partial loss of earnings, or funeral expenses which were incurred as a result of their victimization.

Qualifications for Criminal Injuries Compensation are:
The crime occurred in Virginia and resulted in physical injury or death.
The crime was reported to law enforcement within 120 hours of its occurrence, unless good cause for delay is shown.
– The victim cooperated with law enforcement and was willing to prosecute in court.
– The value of the claim, not paid by other sources, must be at least $100.00.
– The crime did not involve a motor vehicle accident unless it was the result of a Violation of the Drunk Driving Statute or the injuries were intentionally inflicted.

If you meet the above criteria, please contact Heather Wood at the Rockbridge County Victim-Witness Office (540) 464-5917.