American criminal law is unique and complex. This article seeks to provide a general overview of the American criminal law process, from arrest to sentencing. American criminal law is a system of rules that are enforced by police, courts, and corrections agencies in American society. The American people have been taught for generations that their justice system has produced the fairest outcomes possible with the least amount of government intrusion.
With the help of los angeles criminal defense lawyers, you are able to make it to the other side of the legal process as easily as possible.
Let us explain further in this article.
How the Criminal Process Begins
The American criminal process starts with the police. Police officers have the authority to make an arrest when they have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. Probable cause is a legal standard that requires a reasonable belief that a person has committed a crime. Once an arrest is made, the police take the person into custody and transport them to the police station. The person is then booked and has the opportunity to contact an attorney.
The next step in the criminal process is arraignment. An arraignment is a hearing where the defendant is informed of the charges against them and they are allowed to enter a plea. A plea is a statement by the defendant that they admit or deny the charges against them. The most common plea is guilty, which means that the defendant admits to committing the crime.
When Pleading Guilty
If the defendant pleads guilty, they may be sentenced at the arraignment or they may have a sentencing hearing at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty, they will be scheduled for a trial. A trial is a hearing where the prosecutor and the defense attorney present evidence and argue their case to a jury or a judge. The jury or the judge then decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty of the charges against them.
If Found Guilty
If the defendant is found guilty, they may be sentenced at the trial or they may have a sentencing hearing at a later date. If the defendant is found not guilty, they are released from custody. The American criminal process ends with the defendant’s sentence. A sentence can include jail time, probation, and fines.
To guide you through the above criminal proceedings, you will want a criminal lawyer by your side every step of the way. This not only makes the process run smoother because of the knowledge that the lawyer brings to the table and the courtroom but is also the emotional support that you will need. An accused can feel more reassured when the person by their side knows the law inside out in respect of what they are being tried for.
A criminal case is an uncertain and upsetting time for everyone associated with the accused and much support can be directed to the families concerned by the criminal lawyer. They are used to dealing with everyone associated with criminal cases at every level. They offer the legal advice that is needed and then back that up with continued support until a trial has ended. Even then, they can be involved in the appeals process. It pays to know about criminal law before it becomes an issue. When it does, you will want a criminal lawyer to know it in great depth. This could be the difference between you or someone you know spending time behind bars or remaining free to change their life and become that good person the law expected in the first place.
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