Motions to Reconsider
The Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security, through Secretary Brian Moran, has encouraged prosecutors and judges to reconsider sentences for those incarcerated in local and regional jails. To this end, the attorneys at the Irving Law Firm, P.C., have been working to serve the community by helping those currently serving sentences in the northern Virginia area. We provide legal services in the form of emergency sentence reduction hearings for all of those at risk from COVID-19. Courts throughout northern Virginia are open for emergency hearings to determine whether all current inmates serving sentences can be released early.
Am I eligible for a Motion to Reconsider?
If you are facing an active sentence and are still in the local jail, you have options. Pursuant to Virginia Code § 19.2-303, you may file a Motion to Reconsider. A Motion to Reconsider is a request submitted to the sentencing judge requesting that the judge consider a different, less harsh sentence. In Virginia, the judge loses the power to modify a sentence once a defendant is in the state prison system (as opposed to the local jail), unless twenty-one days has not yet passed from the sentencing date – even if the defendant has been transferred to the penitentiary system by mistake and against the judge’s ruling to keep the defendant in the local jail pending any court order to the contrary.
What Are My Chances for Success in a Motion to Reconsider?
A Motion to Reconsider is, at best, a “long shot” and, in most cases, they are not successful. However, given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe that everyone eligible for a Motion to Reconsider should file one with the court in an effort to be released.
How Does a Motion to Reconsider Work?
A Motion to Reconsider is a two-stage process. First, a written motion is made stating the reasons why the judge should reconsider the sentence previously imposed. You will not receive endless opportunities to present this motion to the judge, so it is essential that all mitigating evidence in support of your motion is included in your initial filing. Such mitigating evidence may include certificates of completion from programs completed while incarcerated, letters from family and employers, treatment plans from counselors and letters outlining health-related issues and concerns from healthcare providers, etc. Particular attention should be paid to any mitigating facts or changes in circumstance that were not presented during your sentencing hearing.
Upon receiving this motion, the judge has the discretion to either grant the motion and set a hearing date or deny the request without even having a court hearing on the motion. If the Court grants the Motion to Reconsider, the case progresses to the second state, where the Court will set a hearing date to consider this mitigating information.
At the Irving Law Firm, P.C., we have extensive experience representing clients through the process of filing a Motion to Reconsider. If you believe your case may support a Motion to Reconsider or have questions about the process, please contact us for a free consultation.