posted 30 Nov 2010, 06:44 by Mpelembe Admin
updated 30 Nov 2010, 06:45
In the unfortunate event that you are ever arrested by the
police for crimes like petty theft, sex offenses, or even
murder, the worst thing you can do is to start talking and
protesting your innocence to the police. Instead, politely
and calmly state that you would like to speak with a
criminal lawyer. Or, if you've been arrested for driving
under the influence, insist on speaking with a DWI attorney.
It's important that you do not say anything more because even
trivial items mentioned in passing can be used by a skilled
prosecutor as evidence against you.
After you have been arrested, you will be taken to a police
facility for booking. Police will often ask if you want to
make a statement for the record about your arrest and your
interpretation of the events. It's important that you
politely refuse this offer since anything you say could be
admissible in court and used against you during your trial.
You may be placed in a holding cell for a short period of
time until you can be seen by a judge or magistrate who will
decide your bond. Bond in an amount of money that is used as
a kind of financial insurance to make sure that you show up
for all of your trial dates and that you do not try to flee
Next you will be given a court date for an arraignment. The
arraignment is the formal court hearing in which you will be
accused of your crimes, told that you may wish to consult
with an attorney, and asked to issue a plea. The court will
then set a trial date.
Once you have entered a plea to the court, the discovery
period begins. This is the fact finding period in which your
criminal defense team will investigate your case and any
documentation that is in the possession of the prosecution.
Your defense attorney will go over any documents, bits of
evidence, and other information to formulate your defense
for the trial.
How your trial proceeds depends on what you have been
accused of and whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor. If
your offense is a misdemeanor, you will have your case heard
before a judge. If you are accused of a felony, you will have
a preliminary hearing before a judge. If he decides that
there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial, he will
pass your case to a grand jury. If the judge finds that
there is not enough evidence against you, your case will be
In a grand jury, the prosecution presents its case against
you. If the grand jury agrees that there is evidence to
support that you committed a crime, they will issue an
indictment. You will then be given a court date for the
beginning of your criminal trial. The prosecution will
present its case against you by giving evidence and calling
witnesses to testify against you. Your defense team will
cross examine the witnesses and offer counterarguments to
the prosecution's case. In order to prove your guilt, the
prosecution must show that the evidence shows that you are
guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
At the conclusion of the trial, the judge or jury will issue
a verdict. If you are found innocent, you are free to go,
however, if you are convicted of your crimes, your trial
will move into the sentencing phase. Your defense will
attempt to persuade the judge to give you a lenient
sentence. A judge may or may not be swayed by their
arguments and in many cases may have their hands tied by
sentencing guidelines. At the conclusion of the sentencing
trial, the judge will render his decision.
If you've been convicted of a crime, your last chance to
reverse the decision or to change your sentence depends on
appeal. During the appeal process, your defense team will
present to the appellate courts a list of mistakes that were
made during your trial that might have changed the verdict.
If the appellate courts agree that mistakes were made by the
judge or prosecution, they can overturn the verdict.
Prosecutors can then decide to retry you and correct their
If you are ever accused of a crime and arrested, it's
extremely important to seek proper legal representation.
Having a good defense lawyer can literally mean the
difference between life and death.
About the Author:
Anderson, Graham & Wooditch, PC is the largest Alexandria DWI
attorney firm in Northern Virginia practicing solely criminal
and traffic defense law. Our experience makes us the best
choice when you need a DWI attorney, criminal lawyer, or sex
offenses lawyer. If you're in Alexandria, Fairfax, or
Arlington VA, contact us today - http://www.pnalaw.com