How the Criminal Process Works

Criminal Arrest: What Now?

When anyone is arrested and answerable with a abomination there are several things that will yield abode afore they allegation to anguish about a accessible confidence and/or accepting a bent record.

Being arrested

If a affiliate of law administration believes you may accept committed a abomination and they accept "probable cause" that you accept done so, they will accept the area to seek your vehicle, your person, and even arrest you on suspicion of committing that crime. If you are arrested you will be taken to a bounded badge or Sheriff's base to be appointed and processed.

Bailing Out Of Jail

Unless a getting is answerable with a abomination that is amiss by death, they are permitted, by appropriate of law, to "bail out" of bastille while they delay for their case to be resolved. This is a lot of frequently done by gluttonous out the abetment of an able band bondsman. In the accompaniment of California bondsmen allegation a fee according to 10% of the defendant's band in acclimation to column a band band at the jail. The band allows the actor to be briefly arise from aegis awaiting their trial.

In some cases, ancestors associates will column a section of acreage with the cloister in lieu of bail. In acclimation to column a "property bond" the acreage getting acquaint accept to accept disinterestedness according to alert the bulk of the defendant's set bail. A third advantage is to column the abounding band amount, in cash, with the court. As continued as the actor goes to all their all-important cloister appearances the accomplishment to the "property bond" or the "cash bail" will be alternate to the getting who acquaint it at the cessation of the defendant's case. This oftentimes takes a bulk of months.

Bail is set based on the severity of the abomination a actor has been answerable with and whether they accept a above-mentioned history of arrest. The added austere the crime, the greater that person's band will be.

The Arraignment

If a getting does not band out of bastille they will arise afore a adjudicator aural three business canicule to be arraigned. At this time the adjudicator will actuate if there was apparent could cause to abutment the crime(s) the actor is getting answerable with. The prosecutor will aswell accept the befalling to add added accuse and/or address an acclimation to the band amount. It is at the sole acumen of the adjudicator to raise, lower, or advance bail.

Criminal Complaint

After your arrest the badge address will be angry over to the District Attorney's (DA) office. It will be up to the DA to actuate if there is abundant affirmation to book charges. If they do adjudge to move advanced the DA will again book a bent "complaint" with the court. That complaint will account the allegations adjoin the actor and the complaint allows the case to move advanced in the cloister system. If it is bent that there is bereft affirmation to move the case forward, accuse will not be filed and the amount will be dropped.

The Pre-Trial Conference

If your case is confused to balloon the next footfall will be the pre-trial conference. During this appointment the aegis advocate will accept the befalling to altercate the case with the prosecutor. In some cases, the case may action the actor a address bargain, which would acquiesce them to address accusable to a bargain allegation for a bottom sentence. If the amount is not bound at the pre-trial conference, it will move advanced to trial.


The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution provides bodies answerable with a bent breach to be approved by a 12-person board of their peers. During the balloon both the case and aegis will accept the befalling to address their case and to alarm on acknowledging witnesses. They will aswell be acceptable to cantankerous appraise assemblage who accept been alleged by the added side. It is the albatross of the case to authorize "guilt after a reasonable doubt". If this is established, the board will be instructed to acquisition the actor guilty. If answerability cannot be accurate above a reasonable doubt, they will be instructed to acquisition the actor "not guilty". If the actor is begin not accusable they will be chargeless to go and are not acceptable to be retried for the aforementioned offense. If they are begin accusable they accept to acknowledgment to cloister already added in acclimation to be sentenced.

The Sentencing Hearing

When the actor allotment to cloister for their sentencing audition it will be up to the adjudicator to adjudge which book will be imposed by the court. This may cover probation, bastille or bastille time, allowable biologic and/or booze testing, acute the actor to annals as a sex offender, abrogating the getting to vote or acquire a firearm. The adjudicator may aswell appoint abeyant clearing consequences.

The Appeal

If a getting feels they accept been abominably bedevilled of a abomination they accept the advantage of ambrosial the confidence to an appellate court. In acclimation to accomplish a acknowledged address the actor and/or their advocate accept to auspiciously altercate a accusable adjudication was imposed based on errors fabricated by the balloon court. If the appellate cloister agrees with that argument, they accept the ascendancy to "throw out" and "reverse" the conviction.

Convicted, But Granted Parole

Sometimes if a getting is bedevilled of a abomination and bedevilled to bastille time, they may be acceptable to get out of bastille aboriginal if they accede to a codicillary release. During acquittal the actor will still be supervised by the Department of Corrections and will still allegation to analysis in with their acquittal administrator during set dates and times.


In some cases, a bent aegis advocate may be able to auspiciously altercate to accept a confidence absolutely removed from a person's record. This is alleged expungement.

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