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Criminal Defense Legal Steps

April 21, 2010 Leave a comment
Hopefully you never need to be familiar with these in real life… but just in case you do- here is a brief and general overview of criminal defense legal steps.  You can increase your chances of a successful outcome with an experienced criminal attorney on your side.
Investigation: This is when they put you in a dark room to sit on opposite of them on a desolate metal table.  Ask you a few questions with a dangling light over your head.  At least that’s how it is in the movies.  In reality evidence is gathered against the suspect whom may be questioned by a detective.  This is something that you should never agree to without first consulting an attorney.  A judge may sign an arrest warrant in the case that enough evidence is collected.
Arrest & Ministration: This is when the arrested suspect makes their guest appearance before the judge in order to have the formal charges against him/her read to them… sorta like bed time… but not.
criminal defense
Bail Bond & Jail Release: Your criminal lawyer meets with the judge on your behalf during this stage in order to attempt to convince the judge that you should be set free while your charges are fought.
Uncontested Pretrial Hearings: Your attorney finds out the information from that the prosecutor has on you to make them think you have committed a crime.  At this time your attorney can also present evidence on your behalf.
Contested Pretrial Hearings: Your attorney challenges the law/facts that are being held against you in the case.  Some things a good attorney will attempt to do is argue that – “hey the cops messed up in the investigation”, force certain evidence that the prosecution may be withholding to be turned over, or convince the judge that certain evidence shouldn’t be allowed in the trial.  In an “Absolute World” – your attorney would be able to prove that there isn’t enough evidence against you and the charges would be dismissed.
Plea Agreement Negotiation: A favorable plea agreement with the prosecution can be negotiated if the evidence against the suspect is sufficient.  The prosecution may drop some charges, reduce other charges, agree to a lesser sentence or agree to probation instead of jail time.
Trial: In the event that a plea agreement isn’t reached the case will go to trial and the defendants choose whether a jury or a judge hears the case.  If the suspect is found not guilty, he or she is free to go. If the jury returns a guilty verdict, the case moves into the sentencing phase.
Sentencing: At this point in the trial, the jury or judge hears more evidence. This time the testimony is primarily about what kind of person the accused is. This will help the jury or judge decide what punishment is appropriate for this crime and this person.
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