Criminal Procedure with your Columbus Defense Attorney
An arrest is the first stage in criminal case. Arrest occurs when you are detained or restrained by law enforcement while they investigate a situation for suspicion of criminal activity, which ultimately leads to the arrested person being charged with a criminal offense. When you are arrested you do not automatically go to jail. In most situations a person is arrested and charged with a criminal offense, then given a date to appear in court before they are released by law enforcement. In other situations, a person is arrested and taken to the Franklin County jail in Columbus.
Columbus Arraignment with your Criminal Defense Attorney
Arraignment is the first court date you will have after you have been charged with a criminal offense. If you do not have an attorney at arraignment the judge will tell you what criminal offense have been charged with, why you have been charged and explain the maximum penalties associated with that criminal offense. If you are in jail, arraignment is when the judge will set bond in your case. Arraignment is also your first opportunity to enter a plea. In Columbus arraignment courts you can enter one of three pleas: guilty, not guilty or no contest.
- A guilty plea is a complete admission of your guilt to the charged offense.
- A no contest plea means that you are not contesting the facts in your case but you are not admitting your guilt. If you plead no contest the judge will decide if you are guilty based on the charge and the facts in your case. Note: When you plead no contest a judge will almost always find you guilty. If you enter a not guilty, your case will be set for another court date called a pretrial.
- A not guilty plea means that you intend to fight your charges. When you enter a not guilty plea your case is set for another court date called a pretrial.
Pretrial in Columbus with your Criminal Defense Lawyer
Pretrial is the first opportunity for your Columbus Criminal Defense Attorney to talk to the prosecutor about your case. If your Columbus criminal lawyer is diligent they will have already obtained Discovery. Discovery is all the evidence that the state plans to use against you if your case goes to trial. In some cases Discovery may not be available until pretrial. In those cases, pretrial is your Columbus attorney’s first opportunity to examine the evidence and discuss it with you before they speak with the prosecutor about your case. Most Columbus criminal cases are not resolved at a 1st pretrial date. Your lawyer will need time to find the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case and prepare to fight for you.
Columbus Criminal Defense Trial
A Columbus trial occurs when you and your Columbus Defense Attorney can’t agree with the prosecutor to close the case through a plea bargain or other method of resolution. In a plea bargain you agree to plead guilty if the prosecutor offers a reduced charge or a specific sentence, such as a fine only. If you go to trial, you have the right to have a trial before the judge – a court trial, or a jury. During a Columbus jury trial, the prosecution has to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Your Columbus Criminal Lawyer will cross-examine any of the prosecutor’s witness, and call witnesses to testify for you. You also have the option to testify at trial. Whether or not you testify is a decision that you will make with your attorney. After all the evidence has been presented, the jury must decide unanimously whether you are guilty beyond a reasonable. In a misdemeanor case that means that all eight jurors must agree that you are guilty. If you are found guilty at trial you have the right to an appeal.