The Stages of A Criminal Case
Atlanta Criminal Lawyers, DUI Attorneys
Georgia Criminal Attorneys, DUI Lawyers
The stages of an average criminal case is a complex process beginning with the arrests and ending with the sentencing and appeals. While this is a general guideline of what to expect, a criminal defense lawyer – DUI lawyer should be sought out for legal advice before any criminal case.
The first stage of this process involves the arrest from an arrest warrant, a police officer observing a crime, or the police officer being given probable cause to make the arrest. From this point the criminal suspect is processed, also known as booking, and a determination is made on their eligibility of bail.
Here begins the initial phases of the courtroom-based proceedings. During a typical arraignment the criminal suspect is called before the judge who will read the charges and ask the defendant if they have or require a criminal defense attorney. The defendant will be asked if they plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Based on these initial statements the judge may decide to alter bail amount or release the defendant on their own recognizance. All future dates will be set for the preliminary hearings, pre-trial, and the trial. This is also the stage when the criminal defense lawyer – DUI lawyer will be given any relevant reports and documents which will be used in the trial such as a DUI lab test.
Many cases may end in a quick plea bargain in which the defendant, under the consultation of their criminal defense attorney, may choose to plead guilty to one or multiple charges for a more lenient sentence. If this does not happen, the preliminary hearing and pre-trial motions will take place. During this period the judge will hear the arguments from both the prosecutor and defendant, attempting to determine if the case is strong enough to go on to trial. The pre-trial is simply a period in which arguments will be made on both sides to decide if any evidence or witnesses should be left out of the case or if the case should be completely dismissed. The criminal defense attorney may request that any evidence acquired illegally by the authorities or witnesses with disabilities that hamper their cognizance be excluded.
During the main trial the defendant is formally charged with a crime and both sides will preform examinations, cross-examinations, present evidence, and develop their argument for the judge and jury. After both sides have presented their case the defendant is convicted, pleads guilty, or is dismissed. The judge will then determine the sentence. The criminal defense lawyer – DUI lawyer may appeal to have the sentence overturned or reduced at this point. This is done by arguing that the jury was in some way been misled by key legal mistakes during the trial. The process of appeals may be a long one and have been known to last for months and years, well into the incarceration or probation period.
Before any case or hearing takes place, it is in the best interest of any criminal defendant to contact a professional criminal lawyer or attorney.