Criminal defense processes are complicated, bewildering, and intricate. Understanding one’s legal rights is an important factor in generating a positive result. A criminal defense lawyer is the only person versed in these laws and rights, and reaching out to one as quickly as possible is always in your best interest. Discussing the details of a case is very much unadvised before communicating openly with a criminal defense lawyer eager to represent your case, as any information to any other party can be used to bear witness against you in the court of law.
For the police to arrest a person, probable cause must exist. In essence, police officers must have a reason to believe that a crime was, or is in the process of, being committed and the individual being arrested committed the crime. In most cases, an arrest warrant is not required, unless if an arrest is going to take place within an individual’s home.
Following arrest, the Constitution provides certain rights to protect the arrested person. Two fundamental rights include the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney.
Following an arrest, the police will convey a person to a station for the booking process. During the booking process, questioning, searches, photographs and fingerprinting will be needed from the arrested person. In addition, all property on the individual will be confiscated, recorded, and stored at the station.
When a clerk of the court of law files a complaint, an individual is officially charged with given offenses. In some cases, even a police officer or private citizen can file complaints. Normally, the courts will acknowledge officer complaints made under oath. For private citizens making a complaint, a clerk’s hearing must take place to demonstrate cause. In this hearing, the accused person can hear complaints, as well as contest the issuance of a complaint. Most instances are exempt from the hearing requirement, such as threat of impending bodily injury or risk of flight from the state.
Following the primary appearance after a complaint, an arraignment takes place. Usually, the arraignment takes place 24 hours following an arrest. During an arraignment, pleas to a given charge are entered by defendants, which may include guilty plea, not guilty plea, no contest plea, and mute plea.
At the time of the arraignment, the courts will also prepare the amount of bail, refuse bail to the defendant, or release a person on their own recognizance.
While criminal trials are ongoing, bail is the sum of money, property, or other collateral used to assure the individual accused will arrive during criminal court proceedings. Bail may be paid via cash or the commitment of property, if permitted by the courts.
Following a criminal arrest, people have a right to trial by jury. The jury, which is made up of 6 or 12 members, must collectively deliver a verdict of guilty or not guilty. The person may, however, give up their right to trial by jury through pleading guilty or electing to go through a bench trial, which is a trial in front of a judge, solely. In principal cases, a jury must try a defendant, regardless.
Individuals found guilty by a judge or jury are given the chance to appeal the verdict. Depending on the crimes, the process is diverse; nevertheless, there are always time limitations during which an appeal must be filed. Normally, defendants have 30 days following a verdict to appeal the decision, and the appeal must be under some grounds. Grounds for appealing a case, aside from a harsh verdict, can be made under the statement of legal error.