Arrest — A criminal arrest can stem from a traffic stop, an arrest warrant, or if an officer believes that he has probable cause that you have committed a crime. A case can also be initiated without an arrest if you receive a ticket or another summons to come into court.
Charges filed — In order to hold someone in jail, they must be informed of the specific charges against them within a short period of time. If there is not yet enough evidence to file charges, the person must be released but a prosecutor can still file charges at a later date.
Initial Appearance/Bail Hearing — A person must appear in front of a judge in the 24 hours after their arrest or as soon as possible. A judge will explain their rights and the charges against them.
Preliminary Hearing or Grand Jury — The prosecutor can have a preliminary hearing or can submit a case to a grand jury to determine whether there is enough evidence to pursue charges.
Arraignment — If formal charges are pursued, the defendant now gets the first opportunity to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty in court.
Pre-trial Motions — Both the defense attorney and prosecutor can make legal arguments to a judge regarding legal issues in the case, such as suppression of evidence.
Negotiations — The defense and prosecution will try to negotiate a favorable plea bargain, which can involve a lesser charge or sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. The court must approve any plea bargain that is reached.
Trial — If a defendant still pleads not guilty, the case will proceed to trial in front of a jury, who will issue a verdict of guilty or not guilty on each charge. If the defendant is acquitted, they walk free and the case is over.
Sentencing — If a jury convicts a defendant of a crime, the court will then issue a sentence based on the crime and the circumstances of the case.
Appeal — After a conviction and sentencing, the defendant has multiple opportunities to appeal the conviction based on legal mistakes in the case and other arguments.
Call our New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer for More Information Today
The criminal court process can be complicated and intimidating, even for those who have been through it all before. It is essential to have a highly experienced criminal defense attorney guiding you through the process and advising you of your rights and options. At the Law Offices of Edward V. Murachanian in New Jersey, we always strive for the best possible results for every client, so please call today to discuss how we can help you 732-477-3030.