If you become entangled in a criminal defense case, you’ll need an attorney experienced in procedure and well-versed in precedent to help you successfully navigate the justice system. Whether you feel called to stand up for an injustice or whether you have been accused of wrongdoing, it’s important to know the basics.
The Criminal Justice System
The first ten Amendments to the Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Amendments are cornerstones of the Justice system in America; that is how important life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was to the founding fathers of our country. While anyone can plainly read the letter of the law, an intimate understanding of the underlying intent, as well as thorough knowledge of precedents set during previous litigation is crucial in determining the proper way forward in your case.
No matter what alleged crime comes to trial, if the United States Government and its representatives fail to uphold each citizen’s constitutional rights during the process, we are honor-bound to uphold the laws of the land so that freedom is preserved rather than eroded. Therefore, every criminal case represents a trial not just between a named plaintiff and a defendant, but between citizens and the very government itself to ensure our highest ideals and values, as stated in our founding documents, are faithfully represented throughout the process.
The Criminal Trial Process
Our experts can provide you with steadfast guidance through the criminal defense process. These are the typical steps and procedures you can expect;
- Arrest; when police believe they have just cause to arrest a citizen, they must do while preserving the constitutional rights of the parties involved. Paperwork is completed before the individual is either incarcerated or allowed the chance to post bail.
- Arraignment; this is the formal hearing in which the charges against the individual are clearly outlined, and the individual must enter a plea in response. Depending on the situation, the individual may choose to provide a level of cooperation in return for a guilty plea.
- Preliminary Hearing; this may be a necessary step before trial to collect, verify, and organize the available evidence and witnesses in preparation for a trial.
- Trial; at this point, available evidence and witness testimony will be provided to a judge or a jury so that a verdict can be determined.
- Sentence; once all available information has been carefully weighed, either a judge or jury will provide their determination and the judge will determine the appropriate sentence or punishment. This may be appealed, in which case additional steps in the process might be completed before an appeals court.
Given that so much of the Bill of Rights concerns this very process, it is critical to work with our professionals at William H. Smith Law to ensure all aspects of your case are considered and the fairest possible verdict is returned.