Jim is an experienced criminal trial attorney who has practiced in the Hampton criminal justice system for over 25 years on both sides — as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney. His vast experience in evaluating cases from the perspective of a prosecutor, as well as a defense attorney, enables him to give his clients advice that achieves the best possible results.
Jim Gochenour grew up around Fredericksburg and Westmoreland County, Virginia. He graduated from Woodberry Forrest preparatory school, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from The College of William and Mary in 1984 and earned his law degree from the University of Richmond’s T.C. Williams School of Law in 1987.
Jim began practicing law as an associate in a small general practice, then as partner in a firm, and now as a solo practitioner. In 1992, the judges of the 15th Judical Court appointed him the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Westmoreland County — his introduction to criminal law from the perspective of the prosecutor. In 1994 he became an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Hampton, Virginia. During his 10-plus years in that position, he served as Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney where he supervised a team of attorneys and handled serious cases such as first degree murders, abductions, bank robberies, and aggravated malicious wounding, not to mention a slew of drug cases. For several years, Jim’s duties included the supervision of all DWI trials. In addition to casework, Jim regularly assisted in the teaching of trial skill courses for the National District Attorneys Association.
In 2004, the State of Virginia established a Public Defender office in Hampton, and Jim was selected to be Hampton’s first Public Defender. He grew the office to include 14 additional attorneys, 2 investigators, 2 sentencing advocates, office staff and an office manager. During Jim’s term as Public Defender, he was very involved with the Drug Court on the local and state level. He also advocated for better community services for offenders who also suffered with mental illness. Jim’s caseload included misdemeanor and felony offenses, but only one of Jim’s murder cases went to a jury and that client was found not guilty.
Jim began 2012 with a new challenge — to start a new law firm. Jim’s return to private practice includes retained criminal cases, DWI/DUI, traffic, family law, and basic estate planning.