Once you have been arrested, you will be booked at the police station. You will be fingerprinted and photographed, and your personal possessions will be stored before you are put into a cell. You will then be arraigned, which is your first court appearance. The judge will inform you of the charges against you and your legal rights. At this stage, you will have the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. If bail is available for the charged crime, you will be given a chance to post bail and be released from custody.
What Happens When the Discovery Process Begins?
After the arraignment, the discovery process begins. The prosecution is required to turn over all evidence that it has against you, including witness statements, information from the victim, scientific reports, police reports, photographs, and videos. If the prosecutor does not give your attorney this evidence, your lawyer can file a motion asking the judge to compel discovery. In felony cases, you will be entitled to a preliminary hearing where the prosecution must present evidence to support the charges. Your lawyer will be permitted to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence on your behalf. If the judge finds that there is sufficient evidence to support the charges, the case will move forward.
There may also be a number of pre-trial hearings and motions. Both sides may file motions seeking to introduce evidence, keep out evidence or dismiss charges. The court may hold hearings to hear evidence and arguments on these matters, after which a ruling will be issued.
If the case cannot be resolved during the pre-trial process, the next phase will begin: trial. During trial both the prosecution and defense will have the opportunity to give opening and closing statements, introduce evidence, cross-examine witnesses and make objections. Once all of the evidence is on the record and both sides have presented closing arguments, either the judge or a jury will come to a verdict. If you are found guilty, the judge will then sentence you. Trials can be a risky proposition, which is why many cases are resolved before trial. At Diehl & Hubbell, we recognize that the best outcome may be one that is reached before trial — but we will aggressively defend our criminal defense clients in court if necessary.
If you disagree with the verdict, sentence or any of the judge’s rulings before or during the trial, you may be able to file an appeal. The appeals process can be both lengthy and costly. Your attorney can advise you on the likelihood that your appeal will be successful.