What's next?

Being charged with a crime can be a scary experience. Read more about what to expect in a criminal case. I give an overview of each stage from arraignment to trial.

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What to Do Next

Criminal defense cases have a series of stages that occur in almost every case. Here is an outline of what to expect at each stage.

Being Charged With a Crime

A misdemeanor criminal prosecution may be initiated in three ways. The most common way is for an officer to issue a “ticket” charging you with the crime. The ticket will have the case number, the crime charged and will let you know whether to make a court date for the arraignment or whether one is assigned to you.

An arraignment is typically the first time someone who is charged with a crime goes to court. At this stage, the court will verify your identity, make sure that you are aware of the charges against you and ask how you plea to that charge.

The first appearance is generally held at the same time as arraignment and is where the court can impose conditions of release. These are rules that you must follow in order to remain free while your charge is pending. This can include the requirement to post a bond, not be charged with any more crimes, not to have contact with alleged victims, as well as other conditions the court believes are necessary to ensure the

Right to a Speedy Trial

If a defendant remains in custody after arraignment, he must be brought to trial within 60 days of the arraignment. If he is released from jail, he must be brought to trial within 90 days of the arraignment. If a defendant remains in custody after arraignment, he must be brought to trial within 60 days of the arraignment. If he is released from jail, he must be brought to trial within 90 days of the arraignment.

Pre-Trial Hearing

A Pre-Trial hearing date is set at arraignment. The Pre-Trial hearing is set to determine the status of a case: There are a few potential outcomes at these hearings. If negotiations have been successful a plea may be entered and a sentencing date will be scheduled; If more time is needed for investigation or negotiations the Pre-Trial hearing may be continued to a later date;  or, if negotiations are unsuccessful a Trial date can be set. A Pre-Trial hearing date is set at arraignment. The Pre-Trial hearing is set to determine the status of a case: There are a few potential outcomes at these hearings. If negotiations have been successful a plea may be entered and a sentencing date will be scheduled; If more time is needed for investigation or negotiations the Pre-Trial hearing may be continued to a later date;  or, if negotiations are unsuccessful a Trial date can be set.

Trial

  • Jury Selection (Voir Dire)
  • Opening Statements
  • Examination of Witnesses
  • Jury Instructions
  • Closing Arguments
  • Verdict