What does the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office do?
The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office prosecutes criminal offenses that occur in Gloucester County. Prosecutors in many states are called District Attorneys, Solicitors, and State's Attorneys. In Virginia, they are "Commonwealth's Attorneys." Each county and city in the Commonwealth of Virginia elects a Commonwealth's Attorney to prosecute criminal offenses that occur in that particular county or city.
There are two parties to a criminal case: the Commonwealth of Virginia and the person charged. In short, the Commonwealth accuses the defendant of committing a crime. Just as an accused has their own attorney, the Commonwealth has its attorney – the Commonwealth’s Attorney.
Common examples of criminal cases in which the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office participates are: assault and battery including domestic violence, burglary, homicide, and DUI.
What does the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office not do?
The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office does not participate in any case where the Commonwealth of Virginia is not a party. These are called "civil" (rather than "criminal") cases. A civil case is often characterized by a private person suing another person, often for monetary damages, but can also involve governmental entities other than the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Common examples of cases in which the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office does not participate include divorce, landlord-tenant, child support enforcement, child custody, and those where Gloucester County is a party.
Will the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office prosecute my case?
The Commonwealth's Attorney prosecutes all felony cases. Whether the Commonwealth's Attorney prosecutes a misdemeanor case depends on the offense and who initiated the charge.
Misdemeanor charges initiated by a private person appearing before a magistrate are not prosecuted by the Commonwealth’s Attorney. If you have obtained a criminal warrant and would like the Commonwealth’s Attorney to participate in the case, please call the Office at (804) 693-4995.
All serious misdemeanor charges initiated by law enforcement in Gloucester County are prosecuted by the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.
Must I come to court?
Yes, if you have been served with a subpoena or summons, you must appear at the stated time and place. Failure to comply with a subpoena could cause you to be fined or jailed.
If your subpoena states that it was issued by the authority of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, then please call (804) 693-4995 with questions regarding your appearance.
Questions regarding subpoenas that do not list the Commonwealth’s Attorney as the issuing authority should be directed to the relevant court clerk. Please see the featured links section of this website for court contact information.
Who do I contact regarding a criminal investigation?
Inquiries regarding suspected criminal behavior in Gloucester County should be directed to the Sheriff’s Office. Please see the featured links section of this website for Sheriff’s Office contact information, or click here.
The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office is not responsible for policing or general criminal investigation.
Who will advocate my interests as a crime victim / witness?
The Gloucester County Victim-Witness Assistance Program exists to aid, guide, and advocate the interests of crime victims. Witnesses and victims of crime are encouraged to contact the Victim-Witness Assistance Program at (804) 693-1227.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office does not provide legal representation to crime victims. There is no attorney-client relationship between Commonwealth's Attorneys and victims. Victims, however, are entitled to many things including information, consideration, and respect. If you are the victim or witness of a crime, please see the Victim-Witness Assistance Program section of this website.
Can I drop my charges?
Criminal charges that have already been initiated will be prosecuted. The decision to pursue criminal prosecution lies solely with the Commonwealth’s Attorney. No other, including neither a victim nor a complainant, is able to dismiss a criminal charge.
Who is the FOIA Officer?
Please direct any FOIA requests to Holly B. Smith, Commonwealth's Attorney, P.O. Box 456, Gloucester, VA 23061.
For more information about FOIA requests, click here.