Being charged with a crime can be a scary experience. While the Constitution of the United States gives you certain rights when you are accused of a criminal act, you may not be as protected as you think. That’s because most people are not familiar enough with their constitutional rights to adequately defend themselves. In these situations, an experienced criminal defense attorney can be an invaluable step in protecting your rights.
When you’re charged with a violation of the law, due process requires that certain steps be taken in your case. These include:
Arrest: This is when a police officer takes you into custody due to a (perceived) violation of law
Booking and Bail: Booking includes searching, fingerprinting and the placement of personal information into the legal system. The judge will then set bail. The bail amount will be determined by the severity of the crime, any existing criminal record and the level of risk to society of releasing you.
Arraignment: This is a court procedure in which you become a defendant accused of a crime.
Plea Bargaining: In some cases, you may be able to “bargain” a better sentence by pleading guilty to a crime.
Hearing: During a hearing, a judge determines whether there is enough evidence to bring your case to trial.
Trial: This is the most important part of the criminal defense process. Your criminal defense attorney will present the evidence gathered through research, interviews and other means to defend your case.
Sentencing: This is where you will find out what the penalties to your crime are if you have been found guilty.
Appeals: Even if you’ve been found guilty, you have the right to appeal the decision of the court. Your criminal defense attorney can help guide you through this process.
If you’ve been accused of a crime, you don’t have to navigate the confusing legal system alone. A criminal defense attorney can help ensure your rights are protected – and get you the best results possible.