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There are two different classifications of a criminal charge, either a misdemeanor or a felony. The court process is different for each classifications. Please refer to the Misdemeanor Flowchart or the Felony Flowchart for an outline of what to expect. If the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office is handling the criminal case, a Victim/Witness Advocate will be available to notify you of each step in the case.
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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: homicide, rape, robbery, narcotics distribution, burglary, DUI and domestic violence.
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:
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.
Serious misdemeanor charges initiated by law enforcement in Gloucester County are prosecuted by the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.
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.
Inquiries regarding suspected criminal behavior in Gloucester County should be directed to the Sheriff’s Office. Please access the Sheriff’s Office contact information.
The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office is not responsible for policing or general criminal investigation.
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.
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.
Please direct any FOIA requests to:
Megan C. Zwisohn
Interim Commonwealth's Attorney
P.O. Box 456
Gloucester, VA 23061
Visit the FOIA page for more information about FOIA requests.
Yes, there is no requirement that you report to the police to receive our services. However, please be aware that any report of child abuse or neglect our advocates are required by law to report those claims.
As a victim or witness of a crime you have certain rights under Virginia's Crime Victim and Witness Rights Act (§ 19.2-11.01) Please click here for more detailed information about your rights. A Victim/Witness advocate is also available to answer any questions concerning how your rights apply to the criminal justice process.
A Protective Order is a legal document granted by either a magistrate or judge to protect the health and safety of a person who is the victim of any act involving violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places that person in fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury. This document serves to protect the victim from potential harm by ordering that the offender not have contact with the victim. Click here for more information on protective orders. You can also follow up with a Victim/Witness Advocate for more information at (804) 693-4995.
A Victim Impact Statement is a written or oral statement presented to the court at the defendant's sentencing hearing. Victims or survivors have a right to inform the judge about how the crime has affected their lives. Victim/Witness Advocates are available if you need assistance writing your statement or preparing for the sentencing hearing.
Yes, there are several options for financial assistance with medical bills. The Virginia Victim's Fund (VVF) can help victims of crime with medical bills and funeral expenses. Please speak with a Victim/Witness Advocate and they can help you determine if you qualify for this or other financial assistance programs.
You can sign up for notifications services through VineLink which is a free and confidential service that keeps victims updated on the defendant's location in the jail/prison system. If the offender is serving a sentence in the Department of Corrections (DOC), you can contact a Victim/Witness Advocate for more information on how to stay updated through the DOC's Victim Services Unit.