Being charged with a serious crime is usually frightening and overwhelming, especially when your entire future may be at stake. Many defendants without much prior experience often don’t know what to expect as their felony case makes its way through court. Understanding the process before your case begins can reduce stress and help you make more informed decisions about how to proceed with your case.
Very shortly after charges are filed, you will be required to appear in court for an arraignment. At this first court appearance, the charges against you will be read, your attorney will be appointed, and you will be invited to enter a plea. Bail is also usually determined at the arraignment, and the court will set a date for your next court appearance.
Within three days of your arraignment, you are entitled to a review of your bail conditions. In some instances, the judge may decide to release you on your own recognizance if you don’t have a criminal record, are employed, and are not considered a threat to the community.
First Readiness Conference
Before the preliminary hearing, you and your defense attorney will meet with prosecutors to discuss plea bargains and collect any evidence the police have gathered against you. If no resolution is possible, your felony case will have to go to court.
In felony cases, defendants are entitled to a preliminary hearing in which the judge weighs the evidence against you and decides whether to proceed. This hearing also gives your attorney a chance to have some of the weaker charges included in the indictment thrown out before the trial begins.
Trial Court Arraignment
If you’ve been charged with a felony, you must be arraigned again in the court where your case will be tried. After the actions of the initial arraignment are repeated, the judge will set dates for the second conference and the trial.
Second Readiness Conference
In this meeting, your attorney and prosecutors will again attempt to work out an acceptable plea bargain. If this isn’t possible, your legal representative will begin preparing motions and bring up any issues with the state’s evidence disclosures.
A criminal trial is a complex process in which a jury is selected and the prosecutor presents their evidence against you. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney will either present an affirmative defense or simply call the state’s evidence into question. To achieve a conviction, the jury will have to reach a unanimous verdict of your guilt.
The legal team at The Walker Firm in Warner Robins, GA, has built their reputation on providing aggressive, effective legal representation to defendants facing a wide variety of criminal charges. No matter how serious the accusations may be, you can rely on their team to help achieve the best possible outcome for your case. To schedule a free consultation and discuss your felony case, visit their website or call (478) 923-4152 today.