Criminal cases go through a number of different stages as they wind their way through the complex criminal justice system. Investigations, arrests, charges, plea negotiations, trials, and sentencing proceedings are all integral parts of a criminal case. As a Fort Worth criminal lawyer may advise you, even if an arrest occurs immediately, law enforcement officials must complete their investigation and submit their findings to the district attorney’s office.
The first hearing that individuals accused of criminal offenses will attend is an arraignment. This is a brief hearing that allows a person to enter a formal plea to the charges. Typically, people plead not guilty to the charges at this stage, which allows them to fully consider their options, as well as any evidentiary issues or defenses that may be relevant in their cases.
In many cases, individuals may be able to reach a plea agreement with the state that resolves all pending criminal charges. If the parties cannot agree on an acceptable resolution of the case, however, the judge will schedule the case for trial. The length and issues involved in a trial depend upon the facts specific to each case. During a trial, attorneys for the state and the defense will select a jury to hear the evidence and decide the guilt or innocence of the accused individual.
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