If you have been charged with criminal activity, the police and the district attorney have concluded that you are the most likely suspect connected to a crime. Your arrest has you frightened and worried about your future. What is next for you?
Unless they caught you in the act, they have likely already collected evidence against you, including witness statements, physical evidence, photos, and more. A warrant that has been approved by the prosecutor says they have probable cause to believe you are guilty, and that gives them the right to put you behind bars until you are arraigned.
Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, this will be the first time you appear in court on the charges. There, you are formally informed of the charges and told of your rights according to the constitution, such as the right to a trial before a jury of your peers, the fact that you are presumed innocent until proven otherwise, and so forth. You are given the opportunity to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Bail and other conditions are decided.
The Pretrial Proceedings
Before the trial even starts, there may be motions by either side for the judge to make decisions related to the trial. Perhaps the defense will ask the judge to exclude certain evidence or will ask the judge to consider reasons that they believe you should not have to stand trial. Sometimes a plea deal is offered that the judge will have to weigh in on.
If the case goes to trial (meaning charges were not dropped or a plea deal did not work out), the prosecutor has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The trial can be held before the judge alone or before a jury. If you are found to be not guilty, you are free and clear and cannot be retried on the same charges. If the final verdict is guilty, a new date will be set for sentencing.
If found guilty, the probation department is tasked with putting together a final sentencing report detailing the crime, your criminal history, the victim’s statements, and a sentencing recommendation.
The judge approves the final sentencing based on guidelines in California law.
The Defense You Deserve
Every defendant deserves an aggressive and full-throated defense by a criminal defense attorney who is dedicated to achieving the best possible outcomes for you. At Boertje & Associates, you can expect nothing less. Contact us in San Diego for a confidential consultation today.