2006 Code of Virginia § 19.2-243 - Limitation on prosecution of felony due to lapse of time after finding of probable cause; misdemean...

19.2-243. Limitation on prosecution of felony due to lapse of time afterfinding of probable cause; misdemeanors; exceptions.

Where a general district court has found that there is probable cause tobelieve that the accused has committed a felony, the accused, if he is heldcontinuously in custody thereafter, shall be forever discharged fromprosecution for such offense if no trial is commenced in the circuit courtwithin five months from the date such probable cause was found by thedistrict court; and if the accused is not held in custody but has beenrecognized for his appearance in the circuit court to answer for suchoffense, he shall be forever discharged from prosecution therefor if no trialis commenced in the circuit court within nine months from the date suchprobable cause was found.

If there was no preliminary hearing in the district court, or if suchpreliminary hearing was waived by the accused, the commencement of therunning of the five and nine months periods, respectively, set forth in thissection, shall be from the date an indictment or presentment is found againstthe accused.

If an indictment or presentment is found against the accused but he has notbeen arrested for the offense charged therein, the five and nine monthsperiods, respectively, shall commence to run from the date of his arrestthereon.

Where a case is before a circuit court on appeal from a conviction of amisdemeanor or traffic infraction in a district court, the accused shall beforever discharged from prosecution for such offense if the trial de novo inthe circuit court is not commenced (i) within five months from the date ofthe conviction if the accused has been held continuously in custody or (ii)within nine months of the date of the conviction if the accused has beenrecognized for his appearance in the circuit court to answer for such offense.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to such period of time as thefailure to try the accused was caused:

1. By his insanity or by reason of his confinement in a hospital for care andobservation;

2. By the witnesses for the Commonwealth being enticed or kept away, orprevented from attending by sickness or accident;

3. By the granting of a separate trial at the request of a person indictedjointly with others for a felony;

4. By continuance granted on the motion of the accused or his counsel, or byconcurrence of the accused or his counsel in such a motion by the attorneyfor the Commonwealth, or by the failure of the accused or his counsel to makea timely objection to such a motion by the attorney for the Commonwealth, orby reason of his escaping from jail or failing to appear according to hisrecognizance;

5. By the inability of the jury to agree in their verdict; or

6. By a natural disaster, civil disorder, or act of God.

But the time during the pendency of any appeal in any appellate court shallnot be included as applying to the provisions of this section.

For the purposes of this section, an arrest on an indictment or warrant orinformation or presentment is deemed to have occurred only when suchindictment, warrant, information, or presentment or the summons or capias toanswer such process is served or executed upon the accused and a trial isdeemed commenced at the point when jeopardy would attach or when a plea ofguilty or nolo contendere is tendered by the defendant. The lodging of adetainer or its equivalent shall not constitute an arrest under this section.

(Code 1950, 19.1-191; 1960, c. 366; 1974, c. 391; 1975, c. 495; 1984, c.618; 1988, c. 33; 1993, c. 425; 1995, cc. 37, 352; 2002, c. 743; 2005, c.650.)

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