Initial Charges And Pre-Trial Release
When an officer has probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, he or she will either issue a citation (for some misdemeanors) or arrest you. If arrested, then you will have to go through the bonding process. Some counties have preset bond amounts based on specific charges which allows you to obtain bond in a matter of hours instead of waiting on a judge to set bond. If you have not bonded out within 72 hours of your arrest, a magistrate or municipal court judge will advise you of the charges against you and discuss your eligibility for a bond. If you are not eligible for a bond based on the seriousness of the offense charged or your criminal history, then your case will have to be bound over to a superior court judge who will address a list of factors to determine the likelihood of you returning for trial if you are released and what restrictions need to be placed on you to give enough assurance that you will return.
Depending on the seriousness of the offense, the charges will be set forth in either an accusation submitted by the prosecution or an indictment issued by a grand jury. The formal charges are important because they set forth the specific elements of the offenses which the prosecution must prove at trial.
Pre-Trial Court Appearances
Your initial appearance in a criminal prosecution is called an arraignment. At arraignment, you are formally advised of the charges against you and asked if you plead guilty or not guilty. Pleading guilty. . . well don’t do it. Pleading not guilty preserves your right to a jury trial and initiates some deadlines for filing pre-trial motions to preserve all your constitutional rights and raise any potential questions of law.
After arraignment, any pre-trial motions will usually be addressed at a separate court date before trial. Depending on the issues raised, a successful motions hearing could mean that the case is dismissed or the prosecution will be barred from presenting a critical piece of evidence necessary to convict you. Call Us Today! (470) 728-1725