A few basic points about the criminal justice process

The criminal justice system is something that is difficult for people who haven’t ever been involved in it to understand. There are several things that you might think are going to work in your favor but that you should be careful about doing.

For example, you might be eager to give your side of the story to police officers when you are being questioned about a criminal matter. Doing this without legal representation present could actually work against you instead of working for you. Having an attorney with you can help you ensure that your rights aren’t being violated.

Another point that is often missed is that officers can arrest you as long as they have probable cause to believe that you committed a crime. In most cases, you will have to be arraigned within 48 hours of your arrest. There are some exceptions to this, so be sure that you find out what is going on in your case.

Once you are arraigned, your journey through the criminal justice system starts in earnest. You will then have to start thinking about how you will handle your case during hearings. This is also the time when you can start to think about plea deals and defense strategies.

If you can’t resolve your case before a trial date approaches, you will have to go through the trial. It is always a good idea to prepare for the trial until you know that you won’t have to face a jury. Making sure that you are working diligently on a defense strategy is necessary. Ideally, you will do this as early in the process as possible.

Source: FindLaw, “Common Criminal Law Questions,” accessed July 18, 2017

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