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Basic Process of a Criminal Case

If you or someone you know has been arrested, it can be a scary and confusing situation. The legal system is anything but simple and can often be overwhelming if you have never experienced it before. That is why walk our clients through every step of the way to make sure they fully understand what is happening throughout their case. Here is the basic process for how a criminal case proceeds from the date of arrest all the way through a potential trial.

Phase 1: Arrest

  • The first step to any criminal case is an arrest. After police officers make an arrest, they refer the case to the District Attorney’s office to pursue charges.

Phase 2: Criminal Charges are Issued or Declined

  • If a case is charged, the prosecutor will file charges either through an information (used for Class A or B misdemeanors) or an indictment (used for felonies).

Phase 3: First Setting/Initial Appearance

  • This is the first court hearing for your case where we let the court know that you have an attorney. This is also when we will make our request to get the discovery for your case.

Phase 4: Reviewing Discovery

  • This is stage where we take time to review all of the evidence to determine the best defense strategy for handling your case moving forward.

Phase 5: Working out a Deal

  • This is usually the longest part of the process. During negotiations, we are going to court, discussing your case with the prosecutor, and resetting your case to give us more time to go over every detail. This also gives us more time to review the discovery and to discuss your case with the prosecutor multiple times while we work to try and get you the best possible outcome on your case.

Phase 6: Pleaing the Case

  • Once we have reached an agreement with the prosecutor that is right for you, we will notify you and explain the details of the agreement. We make sure to answer any questions you have so that you fully understand what is happening. We will then set a court date where we will going over all of the paperwork before we approach the judge and enter a plea for your case.

Phase 7: Hearing or Trial (To Be Determined)

  • In some cases, we may believe that a hearing or a trial may be best for you and in such a situation, we will further discuss with you all of your legal options. If we believe that a hearing or trial is in your best interest, we will make sure to explain the necessary steps so that you can make the best decision that is right for you.