If you have been accused of a serious crime, your chances in court not only depend on your lawyer’s knowledge of the justice system, but also yours.
Here are some frequently asked questions that may help you understand the process better:
Should I talk to the police?
In most cases it is in your best interest to avoid making a statement without an attorney. Sometimes you are unaware if the police are investigating you and might make a statement when called into the station. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can talk to detectives and get valuable information that can result in charges not being filed.
Can police arrest me without evidence of my guilt?
Police can only arrest you if they have probably cause. Depending on the potential causes they will either arrest you, submit your case to a District Attorney who will then ask you to appear for an arraignment or will ask you to voluntarily surrender yourself at the police station.
What happens at an arraignment?
Your arrignment will be your first appearance in court. It is where your attorney will receive the charges that have been filed against you. At this time, your attorney can usually argue bail.
What is a preliminary hearing?
If you were charged with a felony a preliminary hearing will be your next appearance in court. The judge will then determine whether or not there’s probably cause to believe that a crime was committed and if you have probable cause to commit the crime. Your defense attorney will then use the hearing to dispute the evidence, find testimony of witnesses and look for inconsistences in the DA’s case.
What happens after the preliminary trial?
The judge will then determine whether or not there are enough facts to believe you committed the crime. If so, he/she will send your trial to the appropriate court. The DA is free to file any charges that they believe were proven at the preliminary trial.
What happens at trial?
If no disposition is reached, the case will be send to trial. There are various things that can occur at this time including selecting a jury, presenting evidence and cross-examination of witnesses. The jury will then deliberate and reach a verdict.
Check back soon for the next in our series of FAQ! As always, feel free to give us a call for a free consultation.