If you’re facing criminal charges, you can reduce some of your anxiety by finding out what the criminal trial process entails. Once you have an idea, it’s time to hire a Wichita criminal defense attorney. That attorney is Jonathan W. McConnell. Take a look at what you can expect during the trial process, and then contact a defense attorney you can rely on.
Being arrested is the first part of the process. This only tends to happen when the police either have an arrest warrant or probable cause that makes them believe you have broken the law. During the arrest, you should be aware of your rights. These include the right to remain silent and request to speak with an attorney. Know that anything you say can be used against you. You will also be allowed to make a phone call after you have been processed at the jail. However, please remember that all of those phone calls are recorded and can also be used against you.
After you’ve been arrested in Wichita, KS, you will need to be formally charged with a crime within 72 hours, since police cannot hold you longer than this without charges. This means you can expect to see a judge within three days. At that point, the prosecutor will use the arrest report submitted by police to figure out what crime(s) to charge you with.
First Hearing and Arraignment
Once the charges against you have been determined, you will make your initial court appearance. At this hearing, you will find out what the charges are and how much bail will cost. You will also be reminded of your constitutional rights and the fact that you’re entitled to hire your own Wichita criminal defense attorney or get a court-appointed attorney if necessary. At a later date, you will eventually participate in an arraignment, in which you determine how you want to plea. Your options include guilty, not guilty or no contest — which means you’re not saying you’re guilty, but you’re also not contesting your charges. Your Wichita criminal defense attorney will advise you on the best plea for your case.
The Preliminary Hearing
In a felony case, this is when the prosecutors need to show there is probable cause to bind you over for trial on the charges against you. If so, the judge will set the date for your trial. If not, the charges may be reduced or dismissed altogether.
Discovery and Pretrial
During discovery, the prosecution and defense teams will exchange the evidence they have. At this time, you can submit a plea bargain in order to reduce your charges and/or the potential punishment associated with them. During pretrial, your Wichita criminal defense attorney can file pretrial motions, such as the request to exclude certain evidence because it was illegally obtained by law enforcement.
A jury trial will begin with “voir dire,” which is the process of choosing the jury. Once the jury has been selected, each attorney will present an opening statement, after which the prosecution will present evidence and witnesses. Your Wichita criminal defense attorney can cross-examine those witnesses and, at the conclusion of the prosecutions case, present their own witnesses and evidence. At that point, both sides will present closing arguments and then, once the jury deliberates, the verdict will be read in court. If you are found guilty, the next step will be sentencing, when the judge will either tell you your sentence or set a date for sentencing.
If you plead not guilty in the case but were found guilty at trial, you and your Wichita criminal defense attorney can appeal your conviction. This means a higher court will look at the case to decide if it agrees with the lower court’s rulings, giving you a chance to get the conviction overturned.
Now that you have some idea of how the criminal trial process goes, you need to hire a Wichita criminal defense attorney. Whether your charge is a DUI, assault or worse, you can trust Jonathan W. McConnell with your case. Contact us today to find out your options.