Are you facing criminal charges and do not know how to navigate the process? Knowing what to expect from the criminal justice system is essential in protecting your rights.
Every person has a right to an attorney when facing criminal charges. The state will have its lawyer prosecute the case. Cory Wilson is a criminal defense lawyer who can help you navigate the process. His experience and expertise provide you with the best legal service. You get a professional and customized plan to suit your needs and budget.
The court should provide one if you cannot afford a crimAttorney inal defense lawyer. Still, you can choose to represent yourself, but it is best to hire an attorney to represent your needs. Let us go deeper into understanding the criminal justice process and then offer tips for finding a suitable legal practitioner.
The Criminal Justice Process
Here are the stages in the criminal justice system;
- The Arrest: Once a law enforcer finds sufficient evidence against a person on criminal charges, they will go ahead and make an arrest. It is the initial step in the criminal justice process. After which, they will forward the case to a public prosecutor who files the charges in a court of law.
- Arraignment: The prosecutor will arraign you before a judge on the same day of arrest or the day after. A judge reads the charges against the defendant and reads them their rights. The court may release the defendant on bail or hold them in a cell until the trial.
- Pleading: During the arraignment, the defendant will make their pleas: innocent or guilty. Having a criminal defense lawyer available from the initial hearing is best to avoid making things worse by saying something that may incriminate you further.
- Preliminary hearing: A criminal case goes into the preliminary hearing by pleading not guilty: The court will seek to establish more facts about the subject and if there is sufficient evidence to charge the defendant. The hearing happens three or two weeks before appearing in court for those out on bail or in jail, respectively.
- Pre-Trial: in this stage, the prosecutor files their motions and responds to the defense lawyer’s submissions. The defense team will seek to have the judge dismiss the charges or disregard specific evidence if the police violated the defendant’s rights during their investigations. Also, they can change the trial location so their client can get a fair jury.
- Trial: the prosecutor and defense attorney will argue their case before a jury for the criminal charges. Both parties present evidence and witnesses before the court. Lawyers give their opening statements, present the case and make closing remarks before the jury deliberates for a verdict.
- Post-trial: defense lawyers can challenge the outcome of a criminal case. The options include a correction in the sentence, their client acquittal, or getting a new trial.
- Sentencing: a judge will provide the sentence for a person found guilty of criminal charges. They will consider the lawyer’s presentations and past criminal records to determine the sentence.
It helps to understand court etiquette.
You should not carry foodstuffs into the courtroom and dress neatly for the proceedings. Ensure to answer the questions as asked and avoid giving too much information. You could seek clarification or repeat a question if you did not understand it the first time. Be audible when giving a response as required.
Tips for Finding a Suitable Defense Attorney for Criminal Charges
There are thousands of defense attorneys, so choosing the best one for your criminal case is vital. You want to get a legal expert on the type of charges you face, as it will determine the outcome. Here are tips for choosing the best defense lawyer:
Family, friends, and colleagues could recommend a defense attorney if they had an experience with one. It would help to enquire about the years they have known the attorney and their experience working with them. Go into detail about the legal expert and their practice to make the right decision.
Look for Experience Lawyers in Criminal Cases
Criminal law is broad, and selecting a lawyer specializing in the crime you are facing charges for is best. Someone good at assault cases may not be ideal for drug possession charges. It is a critical factor to consider before hiring a defense attorney.
Research about a Lawyer’s History and Conduct
A lawyer’s reputation plays a role in their success in a court of law. It is vital to do a background check on a potential defense attorney to determine if they have misconduct charges against them or if they are blacklisted. You can get the information from your locality’s lawyers’ bar association.
The Lawyer Fees
Lawyers charge differently, and discussing the charges is essential in planning to clear your name. Some will ask for an upfront fee for their service, while others do not. It s advisable to know the expected lawyer fees and additional costs during your first meetings with the legal expert.
The best defense attorneys are accessible during and after the trial. Choose a professional available 24/7: If anything happens unexpectedly, you will surely get legal advice, whether morning or night. Ensure to ask about availability before settling on a criminal defense lawyer.
Schedule a Consultation
Meeting with a lawyer for your criminal case can help determine their suitability to represent you. You can arrange a meeting in person or over the internet. The first impression and response to queries can tell you if the legal expert is a proper fit.
Law firms post customer reviews on their website. Still, it is advisable to research different platforms when evaluating an attorney’s reputation. Consider the most recent customer testimonials and reviews to know what to expect.
Now that you know about the criminal justice system and how it works, you can evaluate different defense attorneys to pick suitable legal representation. Hopefully, the insights will help navigate the criminal justice system process successfully.