© 2019 Brian Latuga, Esq. - Proudly serving the Hampton Roads area and the Eastern District of Virginia


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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  • Brian Latuga

COVID-19 and Tidewater Courts; Criminal Cases and Updates

Updated: 11 hours ago

*Updated 3/27/2020; 2:20 PM

** You are responsible for communicating with your lawyer, checking your individual court's website, or calling the clerk's office for more direction; however I will update this information as often as possible.

The Virginia Emergency Period and has been extended from April 6 through April 26, 2020

In light of the Governor's quarantine and the State and Federal Declarations of Emergency, we are keeping our office open for "virtual" meetings until the quarantine is lifted. The health, safety, and well-being of our clients and staff is of highest concern.

If you need any legal assistance, please call me directly at (757) 687-3657.

The Court System is in a bit of a frenzy. Not all courts are handling this crisis the same way (although they should be). Below are the updates I have regarding criminal cases. If you have a civil matter with me then there may be telephone hearings held to continue your case forward. Limited civil information is noted below.

The Supreme Court of Virginia issued an Order to all lower courts. If there are incarcerated defendants then please keep in mind that the United States and Virginia Constitutions still exist! I have heard rumors that Courts are continuing cases without regard to speedy trial rights. The Supreme Court did not remove a judge's discretion in those cases - "Continue all civil, traffic and criminal matters, including jury trials, subject to a defendant’s right to a speedy trial... Judges may exercise their discretion with regard to proceeding with ongoing jury trials, and in cases where the defendant is

incarcerated." Order of the Supreme Court of Virginia.

The Virginia Beach Bar Association has provided a comprehensive web page of recent court orders and links for Virginia Beach. This valuable resource may be found here.

Supreme Court of Virginia

Appellate and Local Court Information Comprehensive Chart

*As of 3/27/2020

The Supreme Court of Virginia has Extended and Modified the Declaration of Judicial Emergency; Now expiring April 26, 2020.

Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Norfolk, Newport News)

*As of 3/27/2020

- See the District Court Website for critical updates here.

- Clerk's Office Counters are Closed to Public

- The Clerk’s Office counters are closed to the public until further notice.

- The public may use the drop boxes during hours when the courthouses are open to the public. Drop Box Procedures.

- Federal employees with building access may use the drop boxes during the evening or weekend hours as well.

- Clerk’s Office staff retrieve documents from the drop boxes at 9:00 AM each day that the Court is open.


*As of 3/17/2020

- See the District Court Website for critical updates here.

- March 17- March 31, 2020: All criminal and civil proceedings are suspended except "critical or emergency criminal and civil matters, and; any proceeding expressly excepted by order of the presiding judge." (So, you really need to be in contact with your lawyer and the court for your hearing status if it may be critical or emergency).

- March 16- April 17, 2020: jury trials and empanelments are continued until further order of the court.

- March 16 - April 30, 2020: All misdemeanor, traffic, and petty offense dockets scheduled in all Divisions of the Court are CONTINUED.

- The Norfolk/ Newport News Federal District Court has provided a chart of NEW court dates for those cases continued between March 16- April 30. See HERE.

Virginia Beach General District Court

- Emergency Period: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 until Monday, April 6, 2020

- ALL criminal and traffic matters scheduled during the Period are continued.

- You or your attorney will receive a mailed notice of the new court date.

- The court's up-to-date schedule may also be viewed online, here.

- ALL civil cases, including Protective Order hearings, are continued for 30 days. See the court's order for more detail.

- Felony Bond Hearings: 8AM, Traffic D

- Misdemeanor Bond Hearings: 9AM, Traffic D

- Arraignments: 10AM, Traffic D

- Petitions for Preliminary Protective Orders, Release of Impounded Vehicles, and for emergency medical or mental health treatment may be filed. Hearing date/ time is not addressed in the court's order.

Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court

*As of 3/27/2020:

- Counsel may e-mail the juvenile court while under the Judicial Emergency Order. Do not fax the same item if using e-mail; provide only one copy in either format.

- Mail is being processed.

- LOA's are being processed.

- Consent/ Agreed Orders are being processed.


*As of 3/17/2020

- Emergency Period: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 until Monday, April 6, 2020

- All Cases are continued, EXCEPT: Arraigments and bond motions for incarcerated adults on criminal and contempt proceedings; detention hearings for juveniles securely detained; Preliminary Protective Order requests; Abuse & Neglect Hearings requesting Emergency Removal Orders and Preliminary Child Protective Orders and the 5-day hearings on these matters.

- All scheduled Adjudicatory (juvenile) or Preliminary Hearings for incarcerated defendants will be held as a review of bond or detention status hearing.

- Attorneys may file matters being heard during the Emergency Period to an e-mail address; all other filings that will not be heard now should be held until after the Period.

Virginia Beach Circuit Court

- Emergency Period: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 until Monday, April 6, 2020

- All civil, traffic and criminal matters, including jury trials scheduled for the emergency period are continued.

- The court will still hear arraignments, determination of counsel hearings, bond appeals, bail reviews, and emergency matters as in the discretion of the Court that cannot be rescheduled to a date after April 6, 2020.

- Filings: there will be a lock box on the steps of Building 10-B for drop off (the Court entrance directly opposite its intersection with Courthouse Drive).

Virginia Beach Jail

- Information on all jail program changes may be found at the VBSO Corona Virus Web Page.

- ON-SITE visitation by inmate's friends, family, and attorneys is cancelled for the "foreseeable future" - visits may be arranged by video through their website.

- Weekender Program: Effective Monday, March 9, the Weekender Program has been SUSPENDED until further notice. Weekenders with questions about their options to complete their sentence should call (757) 385-1050.

Norfolk Courts Generally

- Updates: May be found on the Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk's Website

- City Urgent Alerts for Courts Web Page: here.

- Emergency Period: March 16, 2020 - April 6, 2020.

- Except as follows, all civil, traffic, and criminal trials set during the Emergency Period are continued.

- Criminal cases by Video Conference: Bond appeals, arraignments, requests for bond modification or revocation, NGRI Conditional Release revocations, and such other matters at the discretion of the court.

- The Bar is asked not to request hearings on motions not yet docketed unless the resolution of the matter is "urgent."

- All filings will be done by USPS Mail.

Norfolk General District Court

- See above

- No specific NGDC Order located at this time.

Norfolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court

- See Above

- No specific NJDRC Order located at this time.

Norfolk Circuit Court

- Emergency Period: March 16, 2020 - April 6, 2020.

- Limited hearings on Civil matters are being heard by telephone conference through the Clerk's Office.

Norfolk City Jail

- All on-site visitation is cancelled until further notice.

- Video Visitation for Attorneys: Jail website.

- Attorneys who have not yet been credentialed for video visitation will need to appear in-person for credentialing.

- Video Hours: M- F: 7AM- 4PM, and; 7PM-11PM. Sat-Sun.: 8AM-10PM

Chesapeake Courts Generally

- Information Available: Chesapeake City Website

Chesapeake General District Court

- Emergency Period: March 17-April 6, 2020

- See the Court's Order: here.

- Emergency hearings are at the discretion of the judge; must be requested at the Clerk's Office.

- Bond motions will be addressed on currently scheduled court dates during the Period.

- Traffic Cases: will be continued to the officer’s committed date in June or later

- Criminal and traffic cases involving the Commonwealth Attorney: will be continued to a control date ‐ April 8, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. for setting by the Commonwealth’s Attorney and Defense Counsel.

- Private Citizen Cases: All private citizen cases will be continued for trial for "approximately 60 days at 9:02 a.m."

- Bond Hearings: bond hearings for traffic and criminal cases will at 10:00 a.m. in the criminal courtroom.

- Arraignments: Individuals who have retained counsel and counsel has provided a letter of representation, with dates, are not required to appear for arraignment; bonded arraignments will be set in May.

Chesapeake Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court

*** NOTE: The JDR Court Directive states nothing about ANY cases being continued;

**These Directives are NOT in a signed Court Order;

* These Directives may be found on the Chesapeake City Website: here.

- - See the JDR Directives: here.

- Emergency Period: NOT LISTED.

- Any matter that has an agreed upon continuance may be entered with an agreed order prior to the court date.

- Chesapeake Jail Arraignments and Bond Hearings: 12PM, daily.

- WTRJ Arraignments and Bond Hearings: 9AM, daily.

- Out of Custody Arraignment: Individuals who have retained counsel and counsel has provided a letter of representation, with dates, need not appear for the arraignment.

- Out-of-Custody Criminal Trials: will be set out three (3) months from the arraignment date. (It is unclear if this is a continuance or a setting policy for new trials).

- In-Custody Criminal Trials: will be set out eight (8) weeks from the arraignment date. (It is unclear if this is a continuance or a setting policy for new trials).

Chesapeake Circuit Court

- Emergency Period: March 17- May 4, 2020.

- Court's Website

- All criminal and civil jury trials scheduled through May 4, 2020 will be continued.

- Requests for emergency hearing of cases during the 21 day period shall be made by telecommunication to the Circuit Court Judges' chambers via email (twhite@vacourts.gov) or fax (757-382-3080).

Chesapeake City Jail

- Weekender Program: Chesapeake Sheriff's Weekender program is suspended until the weekend of May 9, 2020.

- The Sheriff will not transport inmates from the jail to the courthouse unless authorized by a judge.

Western Tidewater Regional Jail

- Jail Website: here.

- Friends and family visits are canceled until further notice. - Attorneys are still allowed to visit.

- No information on video visitation.