When you face criminal charges in California, your life is turned upside down. Few things are as challenging as fighting for your rights under the law. It’s important to get help to protect yourself effectively during a criminal investigation and trial. Here’s what you need to know about the different stages of criminal case proceedings and how a criminal defense attorney can assist you throughout the process.
After your arrest, if the charges against you are not dropped, you could be released from jail. Release could be on your own recognizance if you never committed any crimes before. If not, you could post bond. However, in some cases, law enforcement officials will decide to take an individual to court for an arraignment first.
Once you are booked after your arrest, you will attend an arraignment. This is not a hearing, but it is your first court appearance. At the arraignment, the judge will let you know what your constitutional rights are. These rights include contacting a criminal defense attorney. The arraignment is the time when you enter in your formal plea of no contest, not guilty, or guilty.
Known as the preliminary hearing, the judge reviews the evidence against you and determines if you should stand trial. In some cases where not enough evidence is available, the charges could be dropped. However, if the judge holds up the charges, the prosecutor will file documentation to proceed with the court trial.
A jury of your peers must be selected by both your defense lawyer and the prosecuting attorney. Once the jury is chosen, a trial commences. At trial, the prosecutor presents evidence against you. Meanwhile, your defense attorney presents evidence to counter the prosecution’s evidence or to prove your innocence. The jury will return a guilty or not guilty verdict once all evidence is presented and closing arguments are made. If guilty, you are taken into custody. If not guilty, you are released.
California criminal defense lawyer Donald J. Matson has the experience and resources to help you from arrest to trial and everything in between. Let Attorney Matson champion for your rights during this difficult time. Call now at (626) 600-3437 for a consultation.