The Criminal Justice Process
Criminal Law & Procedure (BLJ1442A)
November 15, 2014
The Criminal Justice Process
Even though the defendant can be found guilty at his trial he, has the right to to file an appeal to see if legal errors occurred which could possibly affect the outcome of the verdict or the trial. The first step in the criminal justice process is the investigation and plea negotiations begin after the defendant is charged and a trial is set when the plea negotiations fail. The defendant has an arraignment hearing where he is allowed to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. In this step probable cause is established with the ...view middle of the document...
After all the evidence is gathered and law enforcement feels that they have enough evidence an arrest of the suspect can be made. In order for this to happen they must have probable cause. Law enforcement must believe that a crime has been committed and that the suspect that they are about to arrest has committed the crime. Before arresting the suspect they must have an arrest warrant to make the arrest. Criminal Justice Process, 2014 noted that, “Some instances when an arrest warrant is not needed is when a person commits the crime in the presence of a law enforcement officer or if the officer has probable cause that the person has committed the crime” (The Criminal Justice Process, 2014).
Criminal Justice Process, 2014 noted that, “Law enforcement can arrest a person in a public place with or without an arrest warrant” (The Criminal Justice Process, 2014). Once the suspect is arrested law enforcement has 24 to 48 hours to charge the suspect with the crime. If the person is not charged with that 24 to 48 hour time frame they can be released, depending on the state in which the suspect resides.
The criminal justice process begins when the information or the complaint is filed. Criminal Justice Process, 2014 noted that, “When charges are filed the accused can be held pending an arraignment hearing and the setting of bail” (The Criminal Justice Process, 2014). In some states a grand jury indictment is used to decide if there is probable cause. In some states the judge decides if there is probable cause to support the charges at the preliminary hearing. The complaint, information, or indictment is not proof that the accused committed the crime. It shows if there is enough evidence to prove probable cause to go to trial.
At the arraignment hearing the accused is made aware of the criminal charges that are being brought against them. The judge reads the formal charges against the accused and the accused is allowed to plead guilty, not guilty or no contest ("nolo contendere") to the charges. What happens at a felony arraignment hearing? N.D. noted that, “At the arraignment hearing the defendant is usually given a copy of the indictment against him, and is asked how he would like to plead. If the defendant has not had the chance to consult with his attorney he is encouraged not to plead guilty” (What happens at a felony arraignment hearing? N.D.).
The accused may be represented by his attorney or a court appointed attorney, per the 6th Amendment. If the defendant cannot afford to retain his own lawyer he may request a court appointed attorney at his arraignment hearing. The defendant must be present at the arraignment hearing. Bail is usually set for the accused at his first court appearance after the arrest, which is the arraignment hearing. Criminal Justice Process, 2014 noted that, “The accused is not guaranteed bail because if the judge feels that the defendant is a flight risk, or if the crime is extremely serious bail...