John P Rutkowski, Criminal Defense Attorney
Is There Life After Arrest? What's Next
Facing jail, fines and probation is a serious matter. The more you know about the law and the charges against you, the courts and prosecutors-the more success and peace of mind you will have as well as a better court outcome.
Progression of a Criminal Case
Bail/bond is set in most cases there are exceptions when a defendant is on probation or parole. In those cases, a bond may not be set, or the defendant may remain in custody on a hold. If a bond is set, the defendant may get out of jail. A defendant who cannot post bond or whose bond has not been set must remain in jail. Sometimes special conditions can be placed on a bond.
First Appearance Hearing
A hearing held usually in the jail within 24 hours of arrest for defendants unable to make bond to determine if there is sufficient probable cause to permit the case to move forward. This determination is made based upon law-enforcements probable cause affidavit. The charges are read, and the defendant's rights are explained, and an inquiry is made into the defendant's ability to hire a lawyer.
Probable Causing Hearing
A defendant my request an adversarial probable cause hearing in which testimony is taken. Usually this hearing must be requested within 10 days of arrest. You will be notified if you are needed to testify.
At this proceeding, the defendant is informed of the formal charges against him/her and either pleads not guilty or guilty. If the defendant pleads not guilty there will be several pretrial conferences scheduled which the defendant's attorney my waive the defendant's appearance, however I will attend all pretrial conferences and keep you apprised of the progress of the case. If a disposition is not reached the case will be set for trial. If the defendant pleads guilty, the Court may sentence him/her on that date.
If appropriate, the defense may file motions. The Court hears the motions and decides whether certain evidence will be admissible at trial. You will be notified if you are needed to testify.
The trial may be a jury trial, or a non-jury trial, also known as a bench trial, which is held before a judge only. If the defendant is found guilty, the Court sentences the defendant. In some felony cases the Court will order a pre-sentence investigation, conducted by the department of probation, before sentencing.
Goals To Win
- A defendant has the right to hire an attorney to protect his/her rights
- Prepare for the worst – plan for the best
- Provide information for your attorney for your defense
- Avoid surprises, jail time and high finds, protect yourself, have your attorney explain the law against you
- Keep your attorney informed of any change in address or contact numbers
- Reputation, experience, and dedication of professionals are essential