If you live in the state of California and have been charged with or arrested for a crime, you will need some help from an aggressive Sacramento criminal defense lawyer that will defend your rights and represent your interests. Although the criminal process in the state of California is similar to other states, it is usually difficult to navigate. If you are facing criminal charges, this article will show you the criminal process in greater detail.
The first appearance in the courtroom after your arrest is known as an arraignment. This hearing is held regardless of if you are in custody or not. While having your arraignment, you’ll be formally advised of the criminal charges against you and you will also be apprised of your constitutional rights. While in the arraignment you are required to plead your charge, and this will be “not guilty”, “guilty”, or “no contest”. Your criminal lawyer will get the formal complaint against you. The formal complaint explains any charges that have been filed against you by the prosecutor’s office. Copies of the evidence which the prosecution has against you, along with the police report, will be provided to the lawyer. It is typical that bail will likely be arranged while having your arraignment. When setting bail, the judge likely considers many factors, including the charge against you, whether or not you pose a menace to the general public or others, your previous criminal history (or absence of a record), the amount of time that you have lived locally, family ties you have to the region, and the risk of you fleeing to avoid prosecution. Occasionally no bail is needed and then the defendant is released ROR (on their own recognizance). Other times a property bond may be posted rather than a cash bond.
Preliminary Hearing and also Pretrial Conference
The next step in the criminal process in California is called the preliminary hearing (felony charges). In this hearing a judge considers evidence and decides whether it is sufficient to warrant any charges that you have been charged with. In the event the judge decides that there’s insufficient evidence, the case may be dismissed. But keep in mind that in cases like this, the standard of proof is minimal, unlike in a trial where guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Your Sacramento criminal defense lawyer is there for your preliminary hearing. It is during the preliminary hearing that the lawyer and the prosecuting attorney will attempt to achieve a plea deal. Most of the time criminal cases end up in a plea bargain. Most criminal cases will not head to trial.
In the event the case against you is not dismissed, and if a plea deal is not reached, the next phase is the pre-trial conference. This conference poses another chance of your Sacramento criminal lawyer to get the charges against you reduced to a lesser offense and even dismissed. If that’s out of the question and no disposition is reached on your behalf, then this case will proceed to trial.
What Happens During the Trial
Your case in California criminal court will be heard by a jury of your peers. Your attorney will refute the evidence against you and possibly call witnesses to testify for your benefit. It’s also his job to cross-examine any witnesses that have been put on by the state. Following closing arguments in your case, the jury will deliberate and determine your guilt or innocence.
The last phase within the criminal process would be the sentencing. In accordance with the verdict handed down by the jury, and often the recommendations of the jury, the judge will pass sentence in your case. Following sentencing, your criminal lawyer can appeal the verdict, seek a modification of your sentence, or ask for a new trial.