An overview of the criminal process that sets in when a person faces crime charges

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Any person charged with a crime can avail constitutional protection by following specific procedures that are almost the same across all jurisdictions. But what should be the course of action from the time the person faces the charges will be clear only if there is a proper understanding of the various steps that follow.   If anyone faces criminal charges or gets arrested in the USA, then the first thing to do is to contact a criminal defense lawyer like Tucson Lawyer Elias Damianakos to ensure that defendants can protect their rights by seeking legal help.

Facing charges before an arrest

The police may file charges against a person before arresting him or her. In such cases, the judge will issue an arrest warrant to arrest the person. Once the police can locate the person, he or she will get arrested, and the police will provide a copy of the arrest warrant that mentions the charges against the person. It is not necessary that the police must carry a copy of the warrant and produce it at the time of the arrest. However, they must produce it to the person within a reasonable time after the arrest.


Following a person’s arrest, the police department will book him or her. It consists of taking fingerprints followed by completion of other procedural requirements. Pending a court trial, the person will remain in police custody for a maximum of 48 hours within which the hearing will take place. While in police custody, the person has the right to speak to a lawyer or contact an attorney. At least, the person should get a brief opportunity to meet with the attorney who would represent his case in the court.

At the court

When the case moves to the court, the judge will read the charges brought against the person who is the defendant. Maybe this is the first time that the person hears about the charges brought against him or her in case the arrest happened without an arrest warrant. The judge has to make sure that the person understands the explanation given to him. Next, the judge will provide a chance for the defendant to enter a plea for not guilty, guilty, or no contest.  Despite being guilty, a defendant can plead not guilty if they feel that there is not enough evidence to prove the guilt. All pleas of not guilty lead to trial where the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was guilty of the crime stated in the charges.

The jury decides

Based on the evidence presented by the defendant and plaintiff, the jury will decide on whether the defendant is guilty or not. If the defendant waives the right to a jury trial, then the judge must make the decision. The defendant’s attorney can guide whether to waive or not to waive the right to a jury trial.

If proved not guilty, the defendant will be released from custody. If the person pleads for no contest or found guilty of the charges, it will lead to a sentencing hearing.

July 23, 2019 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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