The majority of criminal cases will begin with your arrest but what comes after that? It is very important that you learn what comes next. After all, the better prepared and schooled you are, the better your outcome can be in court.
Once you have been arrested, you are in the custody of the criminal justice system and “booked”. This is the point where the jail leans about the information pertaining to your arrest. You will then be taken into custody pending resolution of the matter in court or cite released on the promise to appear in court to face the charges. After the police complete their investigation, the District Attorney or City Attorney will be given their findings to see if the police gathered enough evidence for charges to be filed.
Once the prosecution files charges, the court sets the case for an arraignment. At an arraignment, the defendant is advised of the charges and his or her constitutional rights and a not guilty plea will be entered.
After the arraignment, the court will set a pretrial hearing. Depending on whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony and depending on the county, a pretrial hearing may be called a pre-preliminary hearing, FSC, EDP or pretrial and is where defense counsel and the District Attorney will discuss whether it may be appropriate to resolve the case without going to trial. If a plea bargain is reasonable, it might be in a defendant’s best interest to accept it. Your defense lawyer should advise you what the best course of action is.
If no plea agreement is reached in a felony case, the court will set the matter for a preliminary hearing to see whether there is enough evidence to move the case to trial. The burden on the prosecution at a preliminary hearing is quite low and should there be admissible evidence that the defendant could have committed the alleged crime, the court will issue a holding order requiring the defendant to answer the charges in trial court.
If the case gets certified to superior court, the defendant will be arraigned on an Information. If the defendant pleads not guilty to the charges set forth in the Information, the court will likely set a pretrial date to see if the matter can again be resolved without going to trial, a motion date for the parties to file their respect pretrial motions, and an assignment or readiness calendar and trial date.
Before trial commences, your lawyer will draw up and file motions and help in the jury selection. When the trial starts, the prosecution and your defense attorney will present their cases to the jury and be allowed to cross-examine adverse witnesses. After this is done, closing arguments will be heard and the court will provide jurors with instructions on the relevant law prior to them entering deliberations.
All defense cases are not the same. However, there is one thing that does stay the same: from the moment you are arrested to the conclusion of the trial, your attorney will fight to ensure that your rights are not impeded upon and assist you obtain the best possible outcome.
Client charged with possession for sales and gang enhancement. Client faced 16 years in prison with the gang and prior strike allegation. Client turned down 8 year pretrial offer with prior attorney before going to trial. Not guilty on all charges at trial. (People v. Antwan B.)
Client charged with attempt murder, accessory after the fact and gang enhancement after shots fired at a dwelling. Client turned down 15 year pretrial offer. During trial, plea deal reached for probation with time served. (People v. Rudy B.)
Client charged with resisting arrest, obstruction of justice when cops performed a probation sweep at her residence. Client found not guilty on all counts at jury trial. (People v. Felicia M.)
Client charged with corporal injury to girlfriend after argument allegedly escalated. Client had significant exposure of 21 years because of prior strike, probation violation and GBI allegation. At trial, jury refused to convict client, returning hung verdict. (People v. Christopher P.)
Client charged with possession of methamphetamine for sale after traffic stop. Client claimed prejudice by prosecution’s delay in bringing the case to court. Motion filed on behalf of client asking the Court to dismiss the case as violative of client’s speedy trial rights. Motion granted and case dismissed. (People v. Shannon J.)