Transcript- What to Expect in the criminal process

People facing potential criminal charges often want to know what to expect from the criminal process.

“Hello, I am Senior Attorney David Faulkner with Brandon Legal Group. People facing potential criminal charges often want to know what to expect from the process. If you are arrested for alleged criminal conduct, you will often be able to be released on bond if it is a bondable offense or if a bond has already been set by a judge. If there is no bond, then you go to court for what is known as a first appearance within 24 hours of your arrest. At the first appearance, the court will determine if there is probable cause for your arrest. The court will also set a bond if it is an offense for which bond can be assigned.
Typically within 20 or 30 days from your initial arrest, there will be an arraignment hearing. At the arraignment hearing, the court will advise you as to what charges you face, if any, and will ask you what plea you enter. The court will also determine if you have legal counsel or if the court needs to appoint legal counsel for you if you cannot afford an attorney. If by the arraignment you have already hired private legal counsel, your defense attorney will usually have filed a written notice of their appearance indicating that they represent you. They will also enter for you a written plea of not guilty and waive you and your attorney’s appearance at the arraignment.

Usually the next court appearance will be what is known as a pretrial conference. Different courts will have different nomenclature for that hearing; however, regardless of what it is called, the hearing is to advise the court regarding the status of the case. If the case is not resolved at the pretrial conference, then additional pretrial conferences may be scheduled. Eventually if the case is not resolved, it will be set for trial.

Prior to trail, your lawyer will assist you in obtaining what is known as discovery. In Florida you have the right to be aware of and to examine all of the evidence against or for you. You also have the right to use the subpoena power of the court to obtain evidence and witnesses that might be favorable to you. In other words, you have the right to engage in a detailed and comprehensive investigation regarding your defense.

At many points during the criminal process there will be opportunities for you to resolve your case with an agreement reached with the State. A lawyer can assist you with negotiating a favorable resolution.
Prior to trial, there are often hearings at which your criminal defense attorney can help you challenge the admissibility of evidence against you. For example, if a law enforcement officer has violated your legal rights that may result in critical evidence not being able to be used against you in court. Often a skilled criminal defense lawyer can work to get the case dismissed, but every case is different. The decision to resolve the case with an agreement or conversely to go to trial is a very important one. It can only be made after a careful analysis of the strengths and the weaknesses of your case. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to assist you with regard to deciding whether resolving your case before trial or going to trial is in your best interest.

Preparing for trial begins almost immediately in the criminal process. It is important from the very start of your criminal case that your defense lawyer assists you in preserving any critical evidence that might demonstrate your innocence or provide you with a viable defense. As a former prosecutor, former FBI special agent, and licensed private investigator with over 22 years of experience, I can assist you in navigating the intricacies of the criminal justice process with the goal being to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.”

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