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Arrest, Arraignment, and Trial – Explained

Arrest, Arraignment, and Trial – Explained

Arrest, Arraignment and Trial

Criminal court is often considered a scary place if you don’t know what to expect. One of the benefits of hiring a criminal defense attorney is having someone experienced in defending such charges to help you through the process.

Whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense, there are a few basic steps associated with any criminal case. The steps can vary depending on your circumstances. For example, if you are arrested without a warrant, a judge first reviews the evidence against you to ensure it is substantial.

The Arrest

Regardless of the circumstances of your arrest, it is important to remember that you have rights. Two important rights you have are: (1) the right to remain silent and (2) the right to legal representation, such as a criminal attorney.

Most attorneys agree that if you are accused of a crime, it is almost always in your best interests to decline to be questioned without an attorney present. While you may want to try and clear your name as soon as possible, understand that their only reason for wanting to speak to you is to build their case against you. The burden of proof is on them, and you have no obligation to assist in their investigation.

The Arraignment

An arraignment is typically the first time you will appear in the courtroom. At this time, you are referred to as a defendant in a criminal case brought by the state or federal government.

The charges against you will be read out loud. You will also be asked questions about your plea and legal representation. If the court sets a bail, you will be asked how you intend to handle this as well.

If you plead guilty to the charges at this point, the process goes directly to sentencing. If you plead not guilty, the process continues with preparation for a trial. It’s a lot to consider, especially if this is your first offense. For this reason, hiring a criminal lawyer prior to your arraignment is very-highly-recommended.

The Trial

After your attorney and the prosecutors meet to discuss issues such as evidence and witnesses, plea bargains, and motions — and if the case is not dismissed — trial would be the next step. Both sides present their case, and a jury (or judge if a bench trial) renders a verdict.

The most-important aspect of the trial is that the prosecutor must prove — beyond a reasonable doubt — that you are guilty of the charges as filed. A good criminal attorney will attempt to counter such arguments, and/or may be able to negotiate deal where you plead guilty to a lesser charge.

An attorney is also extremely helpful when and if it comes to the sentencing phase of the trial. The prosecutor will push for the maximum punishment in almost every single case, which is why its important to have an attorney looking out for your best interests.

The information presented above is only a snippet of what goes on during a criminal case. Each case is unique, and you deserve the best representation possible. A criminal defense attorney can help you with every step of your case, and ensure that you receive a fair trial. Call us today at 1-800-ATTORNEY.

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