At an arraignment, it is possible for the prosecution to waive or eliminate the possibility of jail time for the defendant. If there is no possibility of jail time, the defendant may not be entitled to a court appointed attorney. In addition, the defendant may not be entitled to a trial by jury. In that case, the judge would be the trier of the facts as well as the law. The defendant would most likely be tried by the judge.
Once the arraignment is completed, the defendant prepares for trial and sets a pre-trial date. At pre-trial, the prosecution may make an offer to the defendant to plea to a lesser charge or to the charged offense without suffering the maximum penalties (plea bargain).
1. The defense attorney must vigorously defend his client’s interest. Click on my Results page to see how we get things done.
2. The defense attorney must present all options to his client with
recommendations and professional opinions.
3. The defense attorney must prepare his client completely for each step in the legal process.
4. The defense attorney must review all possible defense scenarios and interview all witnesses and review evidence in support of the clients case.
5. The defense attorney must develop a theme to the defense. The theme is composed of a powerful defense strategy and a course of action to present reasonable doubt or otherwise minimize exposure or punishments.
6. The defense attorney must gather all evidence and prepare and identify any witnesses.
This involves a meeting between the prosecution and the defense. Topics discussed include plea bargain opportunities, strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case, pretrial motions and intangible factors of the case, such as the defendant’s character and past history.
The pre-trial conference is used to introduce evidence, submit motions, identify procedural issues, exchange witness lists, and plea bargain. Most cases that do not reach trial are plea-bargained at the pre-trial conference.
Each state has different rules for Trials. To list all the possible scenarios that could happen at Trial is to exhaustive a list to be referenced here. Some states provide the right to choose between a trial by judge or jury. Others do not allow the defendant a jury trial in misdemeanor cases. The number of members on a jury varies by state. However, in Florida one has the right to be tried by a jury of 6 of their peers.
A jury trial is the fact finding phase of the case. It is the in-court examination and resolution of a criminal case. At the trial a decision will be reached as to the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Unlike a plea-bargained settlement which completes the case prior to trial, a trial introduces risk for both the prosecution and defense. Neither side knows which side will prevail. The trial begins with the prosecution’s opening statement. The defense attorney may also present an opening statement at this time or he may reserve his opening statement until the beginning of his case-in-chief. The prosecution presents his case to support the charges and then rests. The defense presents his case to refute the charges and then rests. Closing arguments by both the prosecution and defense conclude the presentation part of the trial. The jury then deliberates innocence and guilt.
-Opening statements are presented by both the prosecution and the
-The prosecution presents their case
-The defendant cross examines
-The defense presents their case
-The prosecution cross examines
-Closing arguments are presented by both the prosecution and the
-The prosecution, defense and judge decide on specific instructions to
-The judge instructs the jury on rules
-The jury deliberates
-The jury submits their verdict
The two words every defense attorney loves to hear – “Not Guilty.” The next best two in line are “case dismissed.”
The judge determines the length and type of punishment at a sentencing hearing. Witnesses are generally allowed to speak, requesting either a lighter or stiffer sentence. The defendant may make a statement to the court. In addition, in some jurisdictions the court may ask for a report from the probation department prior to sentencing the defendant.
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