Criminal Defense Process
Unless the police actually observe a crime in progress, their knowledge that a crime has potentially been committed comes to them some other way, such as by information from a witness or crime victim. In these situations, the police most often will undertake some investigation before making any arrests.
In a high-profile case, the prosecutor may want to make a media event out of your arrest. In some cases, the prosecutor may want to keep the arrest as quiet as possible, while it may be in your best interest to publicize the fact of the arrest.
Shortly after the arrest, you will appear before a judge, at which time you will enter a plea and in most cases request a jury trial. A criminal defense lawyer can help you prepare for the arraignment and represent you at this hearing, advising you on how to plea and whether to request a jury trial.
During the discovery phase, the prosecution works on building its case, while your lawyer works on building your defense. Criminal defense lawyers analyze the strength of the prosecution and your available defenses and try to find out as much as they can about the prosecution’s case. They will interview witnesses, read police reports, and speak with the prosecutor if warranted, at all times maintaining strict client confidentiality and protecting your valuable rights.
Before trial, a criminal defense attorney may file motions with the court to suppress evidence or statements against you. If he/she believes your rights have been violated, these claims may be made known at this time as well. Many motions will be decided by the judge after conducting pretrial hearings on the motions, which criminal defense lawyers attend on your behalf.
A trial is always risky and may not be in your best interests. The decision whether to go to trial is yours to make, but a criminal defense attorney will help by advising you of the risks and consequences and what is in your best interests. He/she can negotiate a plea agreement to avoid trial in exchange for lesser charges, alternative sentencing, probation or other favorable outcomes.
If you are convicted, you have the right to appeal to a higher court.
It is important to have an experienced attorney guide you and represent you. If you have been arrested or if you believe you are under investigation for a crime, contact the experienced criminal lawyers at Mullen Schlough & Associates S.C. for immediate assistance.