Your Guide to Understanding the Criminal Process

If there is a formal accusation made by the police asserting that you committed a crime, you are facing a criminal charge. Being charged with a criminal offence is a traumatizing and life-changing experience especially for those who had no intentions from the beginning to do harm. Unfortunately, there is no easy way out.

Whether you are innocent or not, you have to go through a grueling process and not knowing what to expect next will take a toll on your mental and physical health. With this, it is crucial that you know the process so you will know what to expect and how to navigate through it. Here’s the criminal process you should know about:

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Step 1

The first step is an investigation by the police. The purpose is to gather relevant evidence to support an arrest. When gathering for evidence, a search or inspection is needed. If the police believe that there is probable cause, the search will be instigated. During this time, you can search for criminal lawyer Sydney.

Step 2

The next step is the arrest. Arrest means taking the suspect into the custody for the purpose of holding until the court date. This is the time that you call your lawyer to represent you.

Step 3

The prosecution will follow after the arrest. This is when the prosecutors will weight the intensity of the offence and the strength of the evidence presented.

Step 4

The indictment means a formal charge of a serious crime. This is filed after the conclusion of a jury investigation.

Step 5

Arraignment is appearing before the judge for the crimes committed. Arraignment usually happens within 72 hours after the arrest. If this does not happen, the defendant can argue that his/her constitutional right to a fast trial has been infringed.

Step 6

The sixth step involves detention or bail. Detention is a period of temporary custody before the trial. Bail refers to the amount of money a defendant should pay to guarantee that he/she would appear for the trial.

Step 7

Plea-bargaining is the next step. This is when your defence lawyer and prosecutor meet to discuss the case. Plea-bargaining means agreeing to plead guilty in exchange for reducing sentence or charge.

Step 8

The next step is trial and this is one of the most daunting tasks for the defence lawyer and the defendant. The trial will begin before the judge. The guilt should be beyond reasonable doubt. However, if there is doubt, the defendant will be acquitted.

Step 9

After the trial, sentencing will come next. The judge will give the sentencing. If the defendant is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt, the sentence will be enforced. The sentence may include fine, incarceration or maybe both.

Step 10

Appeals come next after the sentencing. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you can ask your defence lawyer to file a petition for a retrial. Once this is approved, the original trial will cease to exist.

Step 11

The punishment will be carried out the correctional authorities. You will serve time depending on the sentence. The good thing is that most people are released before their time for good behavior.