When a Person is Charged With a Crime, What Happens?
When a person is charged with a crime, it can be an overwhelming experience. Hiring a good Criminal Attorney is the first action a person should take.
The person charged has constitutional protections that should be followed by law enforcement and anyone else involved in the legal process.
The Criminal Defense Attorney helps ensure the rights of the defendant are protected.
In some cases a person is charged with a crime before they are arrested. This means a judge has issued a warrant for the person’s arrest. An officer will then attempt to locate the individual and arrest them. The police officer must provide a copy of the warrant within a reasonable time from the arrest.
After an arrest, the individual will be “booked” at the police department and held in police custody pending a court hearing. Typically the court hearing will be within 48 hours.
Once in court, the judge will read the list of charges against the defendant and the defendant will enter a plea of “not guilty” of “no contest” or of “not guilty”.
Even if a person is guilty of a crime, they can enter a plea of “not guilty” if they believe there is not sufficient evidence to prove their guilt. The defendant should consult with their attorney about what plea to enter and if they should waive their right to a trial by jury.
Some evaluations of the defendant may be performed before going to court. For example if the crime is DWI, typically the court may request the defendant be evaluated for a substance abuse problem. The judge will also make a per-sentencing which is an investigation into any prior criminal history the defendant has.
The defendant is of course found “guilty” or “not guilty” of the crime they have been charged with. If they are “not guilty” they are free to go and released from police custody. If they are found “guilty” a sentencing hearing is held.
At the sentencing hearing the judge will consider all of the criminal evidence in the case and also have the opportunity to listen to accounts from various individuals regarding factors they feel should be considered in the sentencing.
The judge will take everything into consideration and determine a sentence for the crime. More serious crimes have longer jail sentences and sometimes involve fines, restitution for victims, or treatments. For less serious crimes, the defendant may have already served the time needed in jail while they awaited their court hearing. Or they could be ordered to simply pay fines.
Anyone that is charged with a crime should hire a good Criminal Attorney. The Goodman Law Firm serves Rockwall County, Hunt County and Kaufman County. With over 200 bench trials, Michael Goodman has the knowledge and experience to help in any criminal law situation.