Trial

One may stand trial for any number of crimes, either classified as misdemeanors or felonies.  Misdemeanors generally carry a maximum penalty of twelve months in jail, whereas felonies generally carry a penalty to include at least one year in a state correctional facility (also known as prison).  Felonies are more serious in nature than misdemeanors not only due to the penalties involved, but also because of the rights lost as a result of conviction.  Convicted felons typically lose their rights to vote, to carry a firearm, and to travel freely.  (§18.2-8   http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+18.2-8)

An accused has a constitutional right to a trial by jury in a Circuit Court when facing a felony or misdemeanor charge.  A jury is a panel of the accused’s peers, selected by counsel after being questioned by the accused, the prosecutor, and the judge.  An accused may not be convicted, unless all jurors agree that the Commonwealth’s Attorney has proven him guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.  An accused may also be tried by the presiding judge instead of a jury, if agreeable to the accused, the prosecutor, and the court.  (§19.2-262 http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+19.2-262)