When you are arrested for a crime, this is the beginning of a long and arduous process with the Maryland court system. However, with the help of a seasoned criminal defense attorney, you can learn what to expect after your arrest and will receive guidance and advocacy throughout each stage of the process. Here’s what you need to know about the four stages of a criminal trial.
Directly After the Arrest
Once you’ve been arrested, a few different things could happen. First, you could be released without being charged if law enforcement officials don’t have enough evidence against you. Or, you could post bond to be released from jail until your court appearance. In some cases, defendants are taken directly from booking to court for their arraignment — do not pass go, do not collect $200.
Your First Court Appearance
The first court appearance is actually your arraignment. At the arraignment, you are required to enter in your formal plea of guilty or not guilty. You may also plead no contest. During this appearance, the judge assigned to your case will inform you of the charges filed against you. He/she will also let you know what your constitutional rights are and inform you that you have the right to consult with an attorney.
The Preliminary Hearing
The first hearing occurs after the arraignment. This is when the judge decides whether or not the defendant should continue on to a trial before a jury of their peers. Sometimes, there is simply not enough evidence against the defendant and the charges are dropped. However, if the judge proceeds to trial, your court date will be set.
Going Before a Jury
The defendant has the right to a trial in front of a jury of their peers. But first, a jury must be selected. In order to ensure fairness, the jury is selected by both the prosecuting attorney and the defendant’s lawyer. During the trial, each attorney will present evidence against or for the defendant, and after a preponderance of the evidence, the jury will determine if the defendant is or is not guilty. A guilty verdict requires that the defendant be taken directly into custody, while a not guilty verdict requires the defendant to be immediately released.
Contact J. Christopher Llinas Today
Maryland criminal defense lawyer J. Christopher Llinas can help advocate for your rights and interests when you’re facing serious criminal charges. Call now at (443) 235-5793 for a consultation.