A Virginia Commonwealth Attorney is the prosecuting officer of a criminal case (i.e., the official who represents the government in the prosecution of criminal offenses).
What Does the Prosecutor Do?
It's the prosecutor's job to work closely with law enforcement in collecting evidence against a criminal defendant and getting it admitted at trial. After all, there are times when evidence is unlawfully collected (or improperly handled along the chain of custody) and, while it may be harmful to a defendant's case, it could ultimately be barred from trial. However, this is not an automatic process and will usually require the assistance of a criminal defense attorney.
If you're a criminal defendant, you should always remember that it's not the job of a prosecutor to protect your rights. In the adversarial system that exists in the American criminal justice system, it's up to you, and your defense attorney, to ensure that your rights are protected.
When It Makes Sense to Speak with the Prosecutor
That being said, there may be times when you and your attorney want to enter discussions with the prosecution. After all, you may be able to resolve your case before trial by obtaining a plea bargain, typically resulting in reduced charges or penalties. However, plea bargain negotiations are tricky and you need to make sure that what you communicate, and when, won't come back to hurt you if you later need to go to trial. Because of that, it's always recommended that your communications to the prosecution go through a defense attorney who is experienced in handling criminal cases.
Below are links to some Commonwealth Attorneys. To suggest a resource for this page, please e-mail us.
Get a Handle on Your Criminal Case: Contact a Lawyer
As you can see, it's critical to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side if you're ever facing criminal charges. Prosecutors may sometimes may seem like they're approachable, but their job is not to protect you, it's to prosecute you. If you're facing criminal charges or may be facing them in the future, there are defense attorneys in your area who can help you understand the charges against you and craft a winning defense strategy.