Beginning with the arrest and concluding at some point before, during,
or after trial, criminal prosecution occurs in a process of different
stages. In a plea bargain, the defendant opts to plead guilty prior to
trial or to reduce charges in exchange for a lenient sentence or the dismissal
of said charges.
Police officers may arrest a person if they witness the person committing
a crime, have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, or
under the authority of a lawful arrest warrant. As soon as the person
is under arrest, police officers book the offender and place him or her
in custody, unless it is a minor offense. If the suspect is granted bail,
he or she may pay the bail amount in exchange for release.
The government typically brings criminal charges through either a preliminary
hearing or grand jury indictment (federal cases). A preliminary hearing
is where counsel questions witnesses and both parties make arguments before
a judge. The judge then decides the finding of probable cause.
Pre-trial motions are designed to find a resolution for all issues regarding
the case and determine evidence and testimony admissible in trial.
The judge or the jury will either decide whether or not the defendant is
guilty or not. The prosecution needs to prove “beyond a reasonable
doubt” that the defendant committed the crime charged. After listening
to opening and closing statements, examinations and cross-examinations
of witnesses, a jury or judge makes a final decision. If the jury is unable
to reach a unanimous verdict, the judge may declare a mistrial –
meaning the case will either be dismissed or a new jury will be selected.
If a jury or judge finds the defendant guilty, the court will provide
The court determines the appropriate punishment for the convicted defendant.
Nature and severity the crime, as well as criminal history, are often
factors the court considers when deciding a sentence.
An individual convicted of a crime may request an appeal through a higher
court. If that court finds out that there was an error in the case or
the sentence imposed, the court may reverse the conviction or decide that
the case needs to be retried.
If you were recently arrested for a crime in Indiana,
Noblesville criminal defense attorney at
The Criminal Defense Firm and request a
free consultation today.