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.


The actual trial does not come for months or years after the initial arrest. The first stage of trial is jury selection where jurors from the county where the charges arise will be subpoenaed for jury duty and questioned as to their qualifications and ability to give you a fair trial. Next, each side will give an opening statement which usually serves as a roadmap for what each side anticipates will be presented at trial. Then, the prosecution will call their first witness and ask any relevant questions. After the prosecution is done with their first witness, the defense is given an opportunity to complete a thorough cross-examination of the witness. The process will continue for each witness until the prosecution rests or ends their presentation of evidence. Then, the defense has an opportunity to present evidence although you are under no obligation to do so and the jury will be charged that they cannot hold it against you if you do not present any evidence. After the defense rests, each side is given an opportunity to give a closing argument which is the final opportunity to drive home the pertinent points that each side wants the jury to focus on during their deliberations. Finally, the judge will give the jurors the law that they are to apply to the case that has been presented to them and they will retire to the jury room to deliberate. Once agreeing on a unanimous verdict, the jury will return to the courtroom and read aloud their verdict of guilty or not guilty to each offense charged. If the jury is unable to come to a unanimous verdict then it is considered a hung jury and the case could potentially be tried again at a later date with new jurors.

Administrative Hearings

Prior to trial, some offenses are subject to separate administrative proceedings. One such offense is DUI where the officer will file a petition to suspend your privilege to drive and an administrative judge will hold a limited hearing using a lower burden of proof than required in the criminal proceeding. Regardless, this hearing is an extremely valuable opportunity to get the officer to swear under oath about the specific observations that he made during his investigation and potentially catch the officer in a lie. Never waive such a hearing without consulting with an attorney first. If the judge upholds the suspension, then there will be additional consequences which will depend on how many DUIs you have had in the last five years.

Our Happy Clients

Life Altering Legal Defense
If you’re looking for an attorney that will fight for your interests, you’ve found the right one. I can’t state enough how communicative, responsive, compassionate, and professional Carl is. My case ended up being a jury trial. The ADA wasn’t at all willing to budge an inch. No compromise. This...
DUI Dropped and Very Compassionate
I can’t say enough about Mr Chapman and how much he has helped me. I have never in my life met a lawyer, from the first call I made & even after my case was over, that was so patient and kind to me. Even before the first penny was...
No DUI on My Record
A little over a year ago I was arrested for a drug related misdemeanor, super speeder, and a DUI. I thought everything was over and had no idea what I was going to do, until I found Carl Chapman. after calling a few lawyers with outrageous prices i called carl,...
Peyton H.
Can’t Thank This Firm Enough
I inquired the services of several attorneys after receiving a DUI with a CDL. Attorney Chapman was very reasonable in my mind I thought you get what you pay for but I can honestly say Attorney Chapman fought hard if not harder than the attorneys with higher prices. He always...
Forever Grateful
I CANNOT say ENOUGH about Mr. Carl Chapman. The attention and professionalism he provided to me was beyond my expectations! From the beginning, I never felt like a client but rather someone he’d known personally. He made sure to explain things to me each step of the way. And whenever...
True Sense of Confidence
The reason I retained Carl was I was passing through Georgia and stopped for speeding. charged for a day after refusing a blood test following a normal field sobriety test. I selected Carl to represent me because he had good reviews and after speaking with him I had felt I...
Accessibility Close Menu
× Accessibility Menu CTRL+U