Steps In a Trial - Felony 1. Crime Occurs 2. Investigation 3. Arrest 4. Booking 5. Initial Appearance 6. Preliminary Hearing If a judge deems it necessary, at this point, a grand jury will meet to decide whether or not the suspect should stand trial. If the grand jury decides they should, the suspect will be indicted. 7. Bail or Detention 8. Pre-Trial Activities Plea Bargains, Motions 9. Trial or Guilty Plea 10. Sentencing Probation If violated, the defendant must go to prison Prison After a successful sentence is completed, parole may be assigned. If parole is violated, the defendant will return to prison. Death Penalty Acquittal
Booking Booking is the formal process of making a record of an arrest. During booking, the accused must provide: Name Date of Birth Address Employer Details of Previous Arrests At the time of the booking, the accused will be finger printed and photographed. They may also have blood drawn and/or a urine sample taken.
Initial Appearance At an initial appearance, the accused will appear before a magistrate to be informed of their charges and their rights. The accused will be told what their bail will be, if a bail is allowed for them. The accused will be appointed an attorney if they do not already have one. If the crime committed was a misdemeanor, the accused can enter their plea (guilty or not guilty) at the initial appearance.
Preliminary Hearing If the case is a felony case, it will go to preliminary hearing after the initial appearance. The prosecutor must establish that the accused probably committed the crime. They may use witnesses and physical evidence. Many states use preliminary hearings instead of grand juries, and it still satisfies due process. If the accused is arraigned, they may enter a plea (guilty or not guilty). 50% of the states require that after a preliminary hearing, the case is handed over to a grand jury.
Grand Jury A grand jury meets to decide if there is sufficient evidence for the accused to stand trial. They will receive evidence from the prosecution and can question witnesses. The accused is not present at the grand jury hearing. If the grand jury thinks the accused should stand trial, they will sign an indictment.
Bail or Detention? Following a preliminary hearing, the defendant will either be sentenced to detention (jail) or they will be let out on bail. Bail is a way for the court to insure that the defendant will return for trial. If the person released does not return, the court keeps the money. If a defendant can not afford bail, they can receive help from a bail bond agency. If a defendant is granted personal recognizance, they will be released until the trial without having to pay any money. Ex: If the crime is particularly bad or the defendant is a major flight risk or they are not able to pay any amount of bail, they will be put in jail until the trial.
Pre-Trial Activities Motion for Dismissal Motion for Severance Motion to Suppress Evidence Motion for Discovery Motion for Change of Venue Motion for Continuance