These summaries were prepared by McGuireWoods LLP lawyer Thomas E. Spahn. They are based on the letter opinions issued by the Virginia State Bar. Any editorial comments reflect Mr. Spahn's current personal views, and not the opinions of the Virginia State Bar, McGuireWoods or its clients. 
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48-Criminal Defense Lawyers

51-Government Attorneys

The ethics rules do not ban per se agreements between a prosecutor and a criminal defendant to dismiss criminal charges in return for the defendant releasing the prosecutor from possible civil liability. However, prosecutors "should not require release dismissal agreements as a matter of course in dismissing criminal charges," and such agreements "will be subject to intense legal and ethical scrutiny." Among other things, a prosecutor may not seek such a release if the possible civil claim is unrelated to the criminal charge, and must dismiss any criminal charges not supported by probable cause.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn