Contact Us Today! (434) 260-7899


How long do I have to file a Virginia state habeas petition?

Posted by Bryan Jones | May 08, 2017 | 2 Comments

How long do I have to file a Virginia state habeas petition?

The deadlines (statute of limitations) are strict for Virginia state court habeas. For the vast majority of people in Virginia, you have one year from the time that your direct appeal concluded or two years from the time your case became final, if you did not file a direct appeal. In other words, you have one year to file a habeas petition if you appealed your case or two years if you did not. Unlike federal habeas petitions, there is only one exception to the statute of limitations in Virginia. That means you have to begin preparing your petition early so that you'll have time to investigate and draft a winning argument.

What is the difference between a direct appeal and a habeas corpus petition?

One of the most important differences is that you are entitled to court appointed counsel on direct appeal, but not in most habeas petitions. A direct appeal is filed with the Virginia Court of Appeals and the Virginia Supreme Court and alleges some error committed by the trial judge during, before, or after trial. A habeas corpus petition generally challenges a mistake made by your own attorney or misconduct by the prosecutor. That's not a perfect explanation, but that is generally the difference between the two.

What is the one exception to the statute of limitations for Virginia state habeas petitions?

There is one exception to the statute of limitations for Virginia state court habeas petitions. That exception is found in Hicks v. Director, Department of Corrections.  The exception In Hicks allows you to file a state habeas petition outside the statute of limitations period if the Commonwealth hides evidence from you or otherwise obstructs your ability to file a timely petition for habeas corpus. In Hicks, the Commonwealth withdraw Brady material (material evidence that tended to show the defendant did not commit the charged offense). The Supreme Court of Virginia held that when the Commonwealth violates Brady, the statute of limitations for Virginia state habeas petitions can be tolled.

About the Author

Bryan Jones

What I do I help people who are charged with crimes. I also help people prove their innocence even after they've been convicted of a crime. I love what I do because my own experience has shown me the value of good legal advice. My law firm is founded on the principle that good legal advice shoul...


Suzie Haslinger Reply

Posted Mar 25, 2018 at 16:53:51

If a Habeus suit is filed for Felony convictions, alleging ineffective counsel OR prosecutor misconduct (both appear to be unambiguously true), yet the inmate completes his sentence before the Habeus review process is completed and ruled on… does the habeas become moot/ die on the vine with his release? Or does it complete the process and still recive a ruling?

This defendant already has a very fifficult life of poverty and mental illness and did not assault any police officers. Even if he completes the sentence he shouldnt have to go through life a double felon. The financial demands of the court, loss of disability – his only income, the difficulty in obtaining houding as a double felon for the rest of his life- these things are patently wrong to saddle him with, hes already helpless and poor. And he didnt do it, the trial was over before it started, the police lied, belied by their written statements being illogical if any analysis is done at all; the officer’s written statements conflicting with each other on material facts. At trial their testimony failed absolutely to match their written statements adhere to thier written statements at all, and the two officer’s testimonies differing very very much from each other on the facts of both assaults. Ive been told a judge has the discretion to accept such nonsense as valid evidence (I dont understand where beyond a reasonable doubt went) , so this leaves Habeas. But his sentence is over in july. Thank you. Wondering is Habeas doable if his sentence is up in july? ( sentence was just finalized in Feb, intent to appeal filed timely.

It doesn’t seem possible that this could have happened to someone in this country. This was in Virginia Beach. Thank you

LaQuita Williams Reply

Posted Mar 07, 2019 at 06:00:51

Please contact me I really need help and I feel my case falls under these guidelines

Leave a Comment


In criminal cases, time is a crucial factor. Retaining an attorney as soon as you are charged is important. Contact the law offices of Bryan J. Jones, LLC to defend your case and help develop a strategy tailored just for you.