Stages of a Criminal Case

There are many different types of cases that are brought to court for trial. This would depend on the crime or the complaint done. However, these cases would only fall under two main categories: civil cases or criminal cases. In this article, the focus will be on criminal cases.  To truly understand what cases are criminal and not,  we have to define it  first.

According to the official website of the Superior Court of California, the state initiates a criminal case. A prosecutor should represent this and studies the complaint against an individual who is said to have a violation of the law. Common examples of which are sex crimes.  If proven guilty, individuals will face a punishment like paying a fine, spending time in jail, or both.

If you happen to have charges under your name, getting a competent lawyer to handle the case is the wisest thing you could do. If the case happens to be in a Cambridge court, you are lucky enough to hire a Cambridge sex crimes lawyer with a proven track record of success. A criminal case will have a high success rate if an expert in this field is leading your case.

Moreover, having an understanding of the process behind a criminal case will increase the possibility of dropping your case, so you can refer to the stages below:

  1. Arraignment

This is the first part of the criminal procedure when you would make a first appearance. A judge or a magistrate read the charges during this moment. This is done in order to protect you from being held in custody by the authorities over an additional period of time without you knowing the charges. Usually, it occurs within 72 hours after arrestment

  1. Preliminary Hearing

In this stage, any pieces of evidence that prove a crime was done is shown before the court. The judge then decides whether the evidence is substantial or inconsequential. Depending on the decision of the judge, the case can either be brought to the trial court level for further investigation or dropped

  1. Pre-trial Hearing and Motions

This is when the negotiations happen in order to resolve final issues. Attempts of settlement or plea bargaining are also done by both the prosecution and the defense. Plea bargaining is when you admit to being guilty of the crime for a lesser or lower sentence.

  1. Trial

Any evidence is shown by both the prosecution and the defense before a judge or a jury. The court will also call in any witnesses to further strengthen the case of each side. After hearing both sides, the judge or the jury decides whether you are innocent or guilty.

  1. Sentencing

If you are found guilty, sentencing follows. During this stage, the appropriate punishment is will be given to you from a number of factors. In most cases, the sentence is read right after the trial, but cases that are more serious may require a separate hearing.

Criminal procedures can be complex, tiring, and long. The whole process may also be nerve-wracking, but with the help of a reliable lawyer and an awareness of criminal procedures, people facing criminal charges can get through it all.

News Reporter