Criminal Trials and Negotiation

During seventeen years as a defense attorney, Chris has handled more than a hundred felony trials (meaning cases where the accused pled not guilty and went to trial) in state and federal courts in Virginia and Washington, DC. He has also handled hundreds of serious felony cases that were resolved by agreement without a trial. Which path to take in a serious criminal case can only be decided after a cautious assessment of the facts and circumstances of that case. It is the philosophy of the firm that neither decision, whether to go to trial or to attempt to resolve a matter through negotiation, can be made quickly or easily. Most often, an attorney must prepare and strategize for both possibilities from the very beginning of a case. During a free consultation with a potential client, and throughout representation, the firm will always talk through various strategies and the progress of the case on a regular basis, and at times convenient for the client.

Criminal Appeals

Anyone who goes to trial and loses a criminal case is forced to face the reality that his or her freedom, reputation, or both rests on the success of their criminal appeal. Chris has regularly handled appeals in the Virginia Court of Appeals, the Virginia Supreme Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, his cases include Foltz v. Commonwealth, the first warrantless GPS tracking case in Virginia history, Rogers v. Commonwealth, a death penalty case that resulted in a life sentence; Commonwealth v. Pannell, a case that heightened protections for juveniles charged with probation violations and provoked the General Assembly to change the Juvenile Code; Brown v. Commonwealth, a DWI case reversed by the Virginia Court of Appeals because of faulty breath test procedures; Hernandez v. United States, a case that challenged the federal rule not requiring a jury trial in DWI cases; and, United States v. Jeffery, an appeal of a conviction for a multi-million dollar oil theft scam in Iraq.

The firm handles appeals by charging an initial fee for an extensive review of the record to determine whether the case contains issue meritorious enough to warrant expenditure of the costs for the whole appeal. After such a review, and once a client decides to appeal, the fee can be structured over time. Because criminal appeals, particularly of complex trials, involve extensive and detailed review of the record and legal authorities, Chris regularly handles cases in collaboration with the Law Office of Joni C. Robin. In such an event, both attorneys work on the brief, maintain contact with the client, appear in court, and are fully versed in all components of the case.