An arraignment in Virginia is where the judge tells the defendant what they are charged with and asks if they want an attorney appointed to them or if they have plans to find their own attorney. At this point, it may be critical to have reached out to a skilled robbery attorney who can speak on your behalf throughout the initial hearing.
The Chantilly robbery arraignments take place in general district court in front of a general district court judge. If they do not have an attorney at that point, the judge may advise them differently. In an arraignment, the judge typically does not address bond or the underlying offense are not addressed at arraignments unless a bond motion has been previously filed.
Flight risk in the context of a robbery means whether a person might not return to court. The reason it comes up in front of a judge would be in terms of bond or bail. A judge would be looking at the defendant’s potential risk of not returning to court and that related to the bond determination. Robbery is a charge for which there is a presumption against bond.
In Virginia, the courts determine whether or not somebody gets bond. It does not happen at an arraignment. It happens at a bond determination. For robbery, the magistrate is never going to think about whether or not the defendant is a flight risk, because the magistrate cannot give people bond for certain types of felonies.
Someone accused of robbery has the right to get out on bond unless they have a presumption against bond charge. Robbery in a presumption against bond charge means there is a presumption, subject to rebuttal by a defense attorney, that there is no condition or combination of conditions that may reasonably assure one’s appearance at trail or the safety of the public.
Since robbery is a presumption charge, the defense attorney’s job is to kind of rebut by considering whether there is any condition of release that may reasonably assure the appearance of the person and the safety of the public. In Chantilly robbery arraignments, those considerations are what is the offense charged and what are the circumstances surrounding that, including history, characteristics of the person, and community ties.
Being a danger to the public in the context of a robbery means there is a risk of danger to any person or the community posed by the person’s release. It is one of the presumptions that a person has to overcome to get bond in a robbery charge. Being charged with a robbery is considered serious and violent, so a person, by virtue of being charged, is considered a danger to the potential victim, the alleged victim, or the public. The question is whether somebody else is put at risk by releasing this person. For the safety of the public, a presumption needs to be overcome by showing that this person has a good record and has never been in trouble before, based on their character and history.
The statute refers to one’s character, physical and mental condition, family ties, employment, community ties, past conduct, drug or alcohol abuse history, criminal history, membership in a street gang, and records, which a judge may consider when deciding whether or not a person is a danger to the public. They also consider the nature and seriousness of the robbery, like if it is an armed robbery, because the risk is considered high and it is a hard presumption to overcome.
At Chantilly robbery arraignments, sometimes people do not have the charges read to them until they are ready for a plea deal, because their original (unintelligible) was waived by the entry of appearance of their attorney. The purpose for the arraignment is to inform the person of their right to an attorney and convey what they are charged with.