When the police believe that you committed a crime, they can arrest you for it. The arrest initiates the criminal law process, but it does not mean that you are guilty. Every person suspected of a crime must go through a legal process, which is called the criminal law process. If you are facing criminal charges, here are three things to expect during this process.
1. You Will Have an Arraignment Hearing
Whether you get arrested or not, you will have an arraignment hearing for the charges. This hearing generally occurs several days after the arrest, and it is a necessary part of your criminal case. The hearing involves being in front of a judge. The judge states the charges the court has against you and asks you how you want to plead. You should always plead not guilty when attending an arraignment hearing, as pleading guilty convicts you of the charges. During this hearing, you will also learn more about the charges and can request a lawyer. If possible, you should hire a criminal defense attorney before attending this hearing, so you have a lawyer with you during it.
2. The Next Hearing Is the Discovery Hearing
After completing the arraignment hearing, the court will schedule a discovery hearing. At this court appearance, the prosecution will reveal the evidence they have against you. The judge will listen to the evidence and decide how to respond. If there is no evidence, the judge might drop the case. If there is enough evidence, the judge will approve prosecuting the case. At this point, you are still not guilty of the crime in question.
3. You Can Proceed to a Trial or Use a Plea Bargain
After the discovery hearing, you might want to discuss your case with your criminal attorney to learn your options. You will likely have two choices in your case. First, you can proceed with a trial. If you choose this option, the court will hear all the evidence and decide your fate. The other option is to accept a plea bargain. Accepting a plea bargain offers many benefits, but it also requires admitting guilt. Before you choose how to proceed, discuss it with your attorney. Your attorney can provide the best advice to you for your situation.
If you need a lawyer for help with your criminal case, look for one today. Criminal defense lawyers help people fight their cases, and you will likely get the best outcome if you hire a great lawyer.