Magistrates are independent judicial officers. Their principal function is to provide independent and unbiased review of complaints brought by citizens and law enforcement. By so doing, they serve as a buffer between law enforcement and society. Magistrates:

  • Conduct hearings on citizen and law enforcement requests that the magistrate issue arrest warrants, summonses, extradition warrants, search warrants, emergency protective orders (EPOs), and other criminal and civil processes

  • Conduct hearings on requests that the magistrate issue emergency custody orders (ECOs) and temporary detention orders (TDOs) in cases involving medical and mental health emergencies

  • Conduct bail determination hearings on recently arrested persons. Such hearings examine whether the accused can safely be released from custody pending trial, and, if so, on what terms.

  • This leads to either their release on bail or their commitment to jail

  • Process the release of defendants from jail who have posted secured bonds or who have otherwise become eligible for pretrial release

  • Administer oaths and acknowledgments

Magistrates are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. If a magistrate is not present in the Prince Edward office, a magistrate in another county will be available via video teleconference.

For additional information about Magistrates, visit the Supreme Court of Virginia's site at:

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