The first step in your case will be the filing of the charges. At this time you are brought into court and you are notified of the alleged charge(s) against you. Bond will be set during court.
The Preliminary Hearing or The Disposition Hearing
The second step can vary as to whether you are facing a SERIOUS Felony or a Misdemeanor. If you are facing a SERIOUS FELONY charge, you will have a Preliminary Hearing. At this hearing the court will decide if there is probable cause that a crime was committed and that the defendant probably committed the crime. Here the court is determining whether there is probable cause to bind the case over to the District Court.
If the case does not qualify for a preliminary hearing, then at the Deposition Hearing negotiation is entered into with the Prosecutor’s office. It is ESSENTIAL that you have an attorney there to REPRESENT YOUR BEST INTERESTS.
The Arraignment Hearing
After the Preliminary Hearing or the Disposition Hearing, you come before the court for an Arraignment Hearing. This may be waived for Misdemeanors. This is your chance to enter a plea of Not Guilty, Guilty, or to stand mute. If you want a jury trial, at this time you MUST request one and may have to pay a jury fee.
The Pretrial Hearing
During the Pretrial hearing, the Prosecution enters some elements of the claim and YOUR ATTORNEY must ensure the the Prosecutor follows the Rules of Evidence and your attorney may argue any Constitutional claims or Procedural claims the defendant may have.
At Trial, the Prosecution presents evidence supporting the claim against you and then your attorney rebuts the evidence. Roughly only 5% of case ever go to trial.
The Sentencing Hearing
If you are found guilty of a crime, or if you plea to the charge(s) then the judge will use several factors in determining your sentence and sentence you according to guideline in place.