Criminal Information when Faced with a Crime
The first time someone deals with the criminal justice can be an overwhelming and a frightening experience. If you or a loved one has committed a crime, you need information to help you through the court process. You need to defend yourself against the accusations against you, and knowledge is your friend as your case goes through the system. The suspect has the right to an attorney from Haymaker & Heroux, PC at any point during the process.
The process of handling crimes differs slightly between federal and state jurisdictions. In addition, lesser crimes, called misdemeanors, might be handled differently than more serious crimes, called felonies. However, some general procedures are often similar.
First of all, the police investigate a case. Often an arrest occurs when law enforcement observe a person commit a crime, such as DUI, theft, speeding or drug possession. In some cases, the police might obtain a search warrant in order to seek out more specific information on a crime, especially in cases involving drugs, fraud or stolen property. They will request the warrant based on probable cause or good reasons for their request.
The police will also question witnesses and suspects. They may take a suspect into custody. A person can be held for one to two days before they are charged with a crime. If police do not have enough information to charge the suspect, they must release the person. A charging document starts the process rolling toward court and an eventual resolution of the case. Next, a judge will hear the case and set bail.
A grand jury will preview some felony cases and decide if there is enough evidence to go forward with the case. Grand juries are reserved for the most serious cases. If the grand jury feels they should pursue the case, the court will schedule an arraignment. The judge informs the defendant of the charges, and the suspect will plead guilty or not guilty.
The defense and prosecution might then begin the process of negotiating plea agreements in cases where the defendant has not admitted guilt. Plea agreements mean an agreement to guilt in lesser charges in exchange for a specific sentence. This can be a win-win arrangement for both the prosecution and the defendant as it saves the cost of a trial and provides a