If you have been charged with a crime, you will want to seek legal advice from a defense attorney that handles criminal cases before you speak with law enforcement on record. Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you need to enlist the aid of an attorney so that your legal rights are protected.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you may be allowed to post bail to be released from jail immediately but if you are charged with a felony, you will be held until you have an initial appearance in court. Your bond will be set at your initial hearing.
If you cannot afford an attorney, one can be appointed for you. Whether you obtain an attorney on your own or one is appointed for you, enlisting the help of a defense attorney is crucial to protecting your rights!
In misdemeanor cases, you will be asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. In felony cases, a date is set for a preliminary hearing although many defendants opt to waive the preliminary hearing. If you are charged with a felony, your case may be presented to a grand jury and an indictment could be handed down if the grand jury finds that there is enough evidence against you.
If you are indicted, you will then appear before a judge at an arraignment.
For serious criminal offenses, especially in Orange County, California, you want to make sure to receive assistance from a skilled legal professional as soon as possible after your arrest. Contact the best criminal defense lawyer in Orange County that you can find and have them provide you a free consultation.
Most attorneys will advise their clients to enter a not guilty plea to felony or misdemeanor charges initially. This will give you and your attorney time to request discovery from the prosecutor in the case so that you can review all evidence against you in the case.
After an arraignment, a defendant’s attorney will meet with the prosecutor in the case at a status conference or review hearing. A plea bargain may be presented at that time by the prosecutor or defense attorney to initiate a possible plea agreement in the case or to facilitate the charges being dropped altogether.
If the charges are not dismissed, and you, the defendant in the case, agree to the terms of the plea agreement, a change of plea hearing will be scheduled and a judge will approve or deny the sentence. In most cases, the judge will approve the plea agreement. If you do not agree to the plea agreement presented to you, your defense attorney can negotiate again with the prosecutor in the case or you can exercise your right to have your case go to trial.
As the defendant, you can choose between a trial in which your guilt or innocence is determined by a jury of your peers or you can have your case heard before a judge who will hand down a guilty or not guilty verdict.
From the time you are charged with a crime until your case is resolved, a defense attorney is paramount to protecting your rights every step of the way! Enlist the help of an attorney so that he or she can help you navigate your way through the justice system!