Updated: Apr 1, 2019
The information here is for educational and advertisement purposes only. It is not legal advice. If you have criminal charges against you, please contact a lawyer for assistance. Call Li Law Group at 402-391-2486, or visit us in Omaha, Nebraska.
Generally, common misdemeanor charges start with tickets/citations issued by the police. One of the most common type is traffic violations. In other instances, after the police become aware of the alleged crimes, they conduct initial investigations. Then they will arrest the suspect for alleged crimes. The suspect is arrested and waits in jail for his initial bond hearing. During the bond hearing, typically a judge will decide whether the defendant can be released from custody while the case is pending and how much the bond will be or if the defendant is released on his/her own recognizance. If the defendant is unsatisfied with the results of the initial bond hearing, the defendant may ask the judge to review the initial decision. This generally happens when a judge agrees to release the defendant but the amount of bail may not be reasonable for the defendant’s situation.
Next, the defendant will be scheduled to attend the arraignment hearing, in which a plea will be entered. Typically, defendent has three options for the entry of plea- guilty, not guilty, and no contest, or sometimes Aflord plea. How the rest of the courtroom journey unfolds mainly depends on the plea defendant enters during arraignment.
If a guilty plea or a no contest plea is entered voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently, the judge will move on the punishment phrase. If there are victims involved in the convicted crimes, there maybe a presentencing investigation before the judge hands down the punishment. The forms of punishment can involve in one or more of the following: fine, jail, probation.
On the other hand, if the defendant enters not guilty plea, the case will be scheduled for discovery and trial. Discovery is a process where the opposing parties exchange evidence and asking certain thing being excluded from evidence. Most of the investigation and pre-trial battles happen during the discovery process. A judge will normally set a deadline for completion of discovery, a date for a pretrial conference where both parties come to the courtroom and answer whether they are ready for trial. Once the parties are ready, the judge will schedule a proposed trial date. There are two types of trials – Bench Trial and Jury Trial. Bench trial is where the judge decides the case; whereas Jury Trial is a panel of members (6 or 12) from the local community and they will decide the outcome. Please note this article is merely skating the surface of legal theories. There have many in-depth studies and books published on these subjects. This article is written for the purposes of education and advertisement. It shall not be construed as legal advice because everyone’s situation is different. And decisions made while facing criminal charges can have serious impacts; therefore, you should contact a lawyer if you have any questions about your case. Back to the two types of trials. Sometimes jury trial is not available to the defendant or needs to be requested by the defendant. Once the trial is concluded, either the judge or the jury will announce a decision. If the defendant is found not guilty, defendant is acquitted on the charges. If the defendant is found guilty, the sentencing phrase will start.