The Chesapeake Magistrate Office operates under the supervision of the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Virginia Supreme Court. Magistrates are judicial officers of the Commonwealth of Virginia and provide an independent, unbiased review of matters brought before them. As members of Virginia's judicial branch of government, magistrates must remain neutral in all matters and they do not investigate crimes like police officers or prosecutors. One of a magistrate's principal functions is to review complaints brought by law enforcement officers and citizens to determine if there is probable cause for criminal charges. Magistrates conduct most of their hearings in person, but may also use designated videoconference systems.
In addition to determining probable cause for criminal charges, magistrates may also:
- Admit criminal defendants to bail or commit to jail following arrest
- Issue search warrants
- Issue emergency protective orders
- Issue mental health emergency custody orders and temporary detention orders
- Issue medical emergency custody orders and temporary detention orders
- Accept prepayment of fines and court costs for certain traffic and misdemeanor offenses
- Order pre-trial levies and seizures and issue civil warrants in certain circumstances
Chesapeake is located within Magistrate Region 8, which includes Hampton, Newport News, Suffolk, Isle of Wight County, and Southampton County. A Chesapeake magistrate may exercise his or her authority anywhere within Region 8.
The Chesapeake Magistrate Office is open twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. No appointment is necessary and most processes are handled in order of request.
Magistrates cannot provide legal advice, but can provide general legal information about judicial procedures. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney. While magistrates cannot recommend attorneys, you may use attorney referral services through the Virginia State Bar. Please consult the Virginia State Bar Website or call 800-552-7977 or 804-775-0808. The Code of Virginia is available online through the Virginia Legislative System Website. The Chesapeake Code of Ordinances is also available online.
Court Dates & Status
For questions about your court date or the status of a pending case, you should contact the court clerk's office. Case information may also be available on Virginia's Judicial System Website.