Prosecutors and law enforcement may take advantage of your ignorance to an unfair deal. Before with the police, you should have a understanding of the criminal process.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you need to the criminal procedure so you can make well informed decisions about your future.
The State and Federal criminal process is complex. Anyone not familiar with the system can quickly become confused and intimidated.
Without the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can end up with unfavorable . Criminal defense lawyers know how to navigate criminal to get the best available to you.
Regardless of whether or not you have an attorney, you should judicial .
California’s Criminal Process
California has a similar criminal process to most other states. It typically follows twelve steps, with some variations for different circumstances or crimes.
1. A Police Report
The criminal process begins when law enforcement is notified of a crime. olice are a crime victim or witness calls 911. After confirming that illegal activity has taken place, law enforcement will write report. In the report, the officers involved summarize the events witness names and any other relevant information.
While defense lawyers can obtain a copy of the police report, individual defendants report. This restriction is meant to protect witness information and identities. It is another reason that defendants need to work with a criminal defense attorneyr access to critical information.
2. A Criminal Investigation
After a report is filed, law enforcement their investigation. For some crimes, a detective may be assigned to the case. Investigations can take weeks, months, or years, depending on the crime and amount of evidence.
During the investigation, the police will identify and interview suspects and witnesses. They may also conduct searches of defendants’ property. Once they have compiled enough evidence about a specific suspect, they will request an arrest warrant from a judge.
3. An Arrest Warrant
Law enforcement takes the evidence they have obtained during the investigation to a judge and requests a warrant for the suspect’s arrest. If the judge does not grant their request, they cannot make an arrest. However, there are scenarios in which an arrest warrant is not required.
If a crime is committed in an officer’s presence or if an officer has probable cause to suspect an individual has committed a crime, they do not need a warrant. Officers can arrest the suspect on the scene, though they cannot hold arrestees indefinitely.
4. The Arrest
After the police have obtained an arrest warrant, they will take the defendant into custody. Prosecutors have 48 hours to bring an incarcerated defendant to court for arraignment. The 48-hour time limit file charges against the defendant does, not including weekends, holidays, or court closures.
If no charges are filed, the defendant will be released from custody. Defendants can also be released on bail or their own recognizancetherwise, defendants are held in jail until their trial.
5. Charges are Filed
To officially accuse a defendant of a crime and take them to trial, the prosecuting agency must file charges against the defendant. After the investigation or arrest, law enforcement sends the case to the relevant prosecuting agency for filing consideration.
The Deputy District Attorney City Attorney charges. one year
6. The Arraignment
A defendant’s first court date is the arraignment. At the arraignment, the judge informs the defendant of the charges against them and their constitutional rights. defendant will enter their plea of guilt, not guilt, or no contest.
arraignment, if the defendant is still in custody, the judge can set their bail OR release. An OR release allows the defendant to be released on their own recognizance, which means they do not have to post bail and only have to promise to appear at future court proceedings.
8. Misdemeanor: Pre-Trial Conference
For misdemeanor charges, the next court date is the pre-trial conference. The prosecution and defense exchange information discovery. Both sides also have the option to file pre-trial motions.
Additionally, pre-trial conferences offer the prosecution and defense a chance to resolve the case trial. With the judge’s help, both parties can negotiate an agreement that avoids .
9. Felony: Preliminary Hearing
For felony charges, defendants are entitled to a preliminary hearing. primary purpose to determine if there is enough evidence to trial.
rguments aitness testimonhe decide if there is probable cause to move the case forward. The prosecution has a very low burden of proof at preliminary hearings. They only need to show that probable cause exists to hold the defendant to answer.
Preliminary hearings give the defense a chance to find holes in the case and cross-examine witnesses. .
10. The Criminal Trial
If a case proceeds to a criminal trial, court triala judge decides the defendant’s guilt. jury trial 12 . Regardless of who is deciding, the prosecution has to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Trials must begin within a specific time period after the arraignment. Defendants in custody at the time of their arraignment have their trial within 30 days of their arraignment. Those not in custody have their trial start within 45 days of their arraignment or plea. Felony jury trials have to start within 60 days of the defendant’s .
11. The Sentencing
efendants that have been found guilty or have pled guilty receive their sentence. If the prosecution and defense agreed on a plea the judge approv the sentence.
If a defendant is found guilty trial, the judge has the discretion to impose a sentence according to what they believe is an appropriate punishment. In California, judges can choose between low-term, mid-term, and high-term sentences for each conviction Penal Code.
Misdemeanor convictions sentence of one year in county jail. Felony convictions .
While the sentencing may seem like the last step of the criminal process, there may be post-trial court proceedings. Convicted defendants can appeal the court’s decision, though they must do so within the allotted time.
It’s important to remember that appeals are not new trials. Appellate courts only look for legal errors. They do not review the facts of the case.
Most appeals are based upon one of two claims:
- There was not enough evidence in the trial to justify the verdict, or
- Mistakes were made before or during the trial that hurt the defendant’s case.
Additionally, convicted defendants that have been granted probation will have to certain terms and conditions. They may need to pay fines, complete a certain amount of community service hours, attend counseling, or fulfill other obligations set by the judge during sentencing. The court requires progress reports for those on probation. These court dates are meant to ensure that the person on probation the terms of their probation the court find them in violation of their probation and additional punishment.
e accused of violating their probation the right to a hearing. At the hearing, the prosecution must establish evidence that the defendant violated their probation
Now You Know
If you are criminal , you should have a decent understanding of what the process entails. To help you get the outcome you should obtain the representation of a highly qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney.
Do not go through this process alone. Work with a lawyer that knows the inner workings fight for .
Contact Shawky Law
Defendants in Southern California should contact Shawky Law. As an expert criminal defense firm, Shawky Law is to help you navigate .
Tarek Shawky is a Former Deputy Public Defender and rated in the Top 1% of Attorneys by NADC. Choose a who will fight for you