When someone is facing criminal charges, they want to conduct research and understand the seriousness of the charges. They will also want to know how to avoid, beat, or lower the charges. Many factors can affect the outcome of a suspect’s case.

During an arrest, suspects have the constitutional right to remain silent and it’s best to exercise it. They are not obligated to say anything even if they are placed in jail. The only time they are required to speak is if a judge orders it. Staying calm and quiet is their best defense against having their words used against them in court.

After the arrest, the accused is taken into custody. If they make bail and are released, the suspect or persons involved are responsible for ensuring the accused appears in court for all scheduled proceedings. Failure to appear can result in a bench warrant for their arrest and loss of bail options. The accused also risks spending more time behind bars until they can see a judge which can take several days further affecting the outcome of their case.

On the other hand, if the person makes bail but cannot make the court date, they can contact their attorney. The attorney can move the case to another day, decreasing the person’s risks of receiving a warrant for their arrest.

When the suspect makes their first appearance in court, also known as the arraignment, the judge explains the charges, the possibility of jail time, provides the next court date and asks if the accused plans to hire a lawyer. It’s during the arraignment when the suspect can plead “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “no contest.”

Suspects who are facing charges with possible jail time have a right to an attorney. They also have the option of being appointed an attorney if they cannot afford one. They can also represent themselves. However, if the suspect decides to hire a lawyer, both must appear at the Attorney Review Date. Should the suspect show up without one, they must have a prepared explanation for the judge.

In the following cases, preliminary hearings or grand juries are used to establish probable cause. In a preliminary hearing, witnesses are questioned, both parties make their arguments, and the judge decides the probable cause. If a grand jury is present, only the prosecutor speaks. The jury can also call witnesses or request further investigation. The jury then decides if there is enough evidence for an indictment.

When all charges, evidence, and witnesses are settled, the trial begins. After hearing all elements of the case, the judge or jury decides whether the suspect is innocent or guilty. If found guilty, the suspect is sentenced. However, if the jury cannot come to a final decision, a new jury is chosen, or the case is dismissed.

If the suspect is convicted of a crime, they may request an appeal by asking a higher court to review the lower court’s decision. The results of appeals can vary as multiple parts of the case are closely examined for mistakes. If the suspect would like an appeal, they should speak with their attorney. If the higher court is successful in finding any mistakes that affect the outcome of the case, it may dismiss the case, remand it back to the lower court for a new trial, or reduced sentencing. Appeals can be complex and require a different approach