When you’re facing criminal charges, your case will likely go to trial. This can be a scary prospect, but it’s good to know that you have rights in any court proceeding.
When your case goes to trial, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime or crimes they have charged you with.
This article covers what you can expect at a criminal trial.
A criminal trial is not just about the evidence presented by both sides but also about the way in which that evidence is presented and how it affects all those who are present in the courtroom. Depending on where you live, there might be several different types of trials with different rules and standards for how something must proceed.
If you’re from Rockville, a Rockville criminal lawyer can help you understand the standard rules of the criminal trial court.
What Is A Criminal Court Like?
A criminal court is a place where you attend hearings with the prosecutor and judges. Before the hearing begins, you will meet with the judge in a meeting room. The judge will review your case and ask you questions.
You may also have to meet with the prosecutor and your Criminal Lawyer Rockville MD, in this meeting room before the hearing starts.
How Does A Criminal Justice Case Proceed?
When found guilty in a criminal case, you have to appear in the Criminal Court. Your case will have three major divisions – before the hearing, during the hearing, and after the hearing.
Here’s what you can expect in the 3 stages of a criminal hearing—
1. Before The Hearing Begins
Before the hearing begins, you need to find out if there is a public defender or private Criminal Lawyer in Rockville MD available for your case. If you can’t afford an attorney, you can file for legal aid. You will be assigned a public defender or a private attorney from the Legal Aid Society.
Before the hearing begins, you will need to sign in at the clerk’s office and provide some basic information, such as your address and phone number.
You may also need to provide photo identification and any outstanding warrants that may exist for you.
2. During The Hearing
During the hearing, you will sit at a table in front of the judge and prosecutor, who may ask you questions about your case. Your lawyer will sit next to you and speak on your behalf. You may also be asked questions by the judge or prosecutor during this time.
Depending on the case, there are a number of things that you can expect to do during the hearing of a criminal case.
- If you have been charged with a crime, you can expect to be asked to enter your plea – guilty or not guilty – before the judge.
- In many cases, you will also be required to answer questions from both sides before the judge makes their final decision on your case.
During these proceedings, it’s important that you listen carefully so that you know when and how to defend yourself.
3. After The Hearing
After the hearing is over, you may wait in a room while your lawyer speaks with the judge and prosecutor. This is called ‘pleading your case.’
At this time, a decision may be made about your case, or there may be more steps before a decision is made.
After all of this, you can expect to wait for a letter from the court that tells you if you have been found guilty or not guilty of your crime.
After a criminal case is over, it usually takes about 12 -16 weeks for your case status to change from open/pending to closed/resolved.
If the defendant is found guilty by the jury, the judge will determine the proper punishment.
The circumstances of the case, the effect the crime had on the victim, and pertinent law, particularly precedent cases from the Court of Appeal, will all have an impact on the sentence.
The judge will equally weigh the defendant’s mitigating circumstances as well as any reports and references. He/she will only pronounce the appropriate sentence or punishment after taking all of these factors into account.