Whether it’s a DUI or arson, being charged with a crime can flip your world upside down. No matter what the charge might be, it’s best to hire a Maryland criminal defense attorney immediately. Not only will an attorney be able to help you understand the charges, but he or she will strategize with you and help you through the process follows.
Arrest and Charges
First, a criminal case begins when you are arrested and charged with a crime. In order for this to happen, there must be reasonable evidence to believe that you committed a specific crime. Most of the time, you’ll be held in jail until arraigned and given a bail amount.
This will be the first time you appear before a judge. When arraigned, the charges against you will be read in a courtroom. Then, you will give your plea as it pertains to the charges. You can choose to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest depending on what you have discussed with your attorney. If you haven’t already hired an attorney, one can be appointed to you at this time. A bail amount will also be set at this time. In some more serious cases, bail may be revoked. If this is the case, you will be held in jail until the trial begins.
Once you have entered into a plea, the prosecutor will present to the judge examples of evidence as to why you should be charged with the crimes brought against you. If the prosecution is unable to provide ample evidence, the case could be dropped. However, if the judge agrees that there is enough evidence, the case will proceed to trial.
Arraignment with the Superior Court
After the preliminary hearing, you will be held to answer on a superior court level. This will follow the same protocol as the first arraignment.
Once all of the preliminary hearings and arraignments are done, the selection of the jury will take place. You are entitled to be judged by an impartial panel of your peers. These people will be selected from a pool of citizens. They will be questioned, and based on their answers, they can either be selected or rejected from the pool of jurors. Each lawyer will have the opportunity to select different jurors.
Once jurors have been selected, the trial will begin. Each side will make opening statements directed at the jury. These statements will give an overview of the case and why or why not you are guilty of the crime you are charged with.
Witnesses and Cross Examination
Both the prosecution and the defense will have the opportunity to call witnesses that support their side of the case. They will ask these people questions as a means to strengthening their theory. Then, the opposing side will have the opportunity to challenge or cross-examine these witnesses.
Both Sides Give Closing Statements
Once all of the evidence has been presented and witnesses examined, each side will give closing statements. This will sum up the evidence and be the last things that the jury hears before deliberating.
Jury Deliberations and Verdict
After the closing statements, the judge will instruct the jury on how to proceed with deliberations. Jurors will then be escorted to a room where they will discuss the evidence heard during the trial. Then, they will come to a decision as to whether or not you are guilty of the crime you are charged with. After they have reached a decision, they will re-enter the courtroom and read the verdict out loud.
After the verdict has been handed down, the judge will either dismiss the case or handle the sentencing. The ruling of the judge stands unless an appeal is filed and accepted
If you have been charged with a crime, it’s time to hire a Maryland criminal defense attorney. The Criminal legal proceedings can be lengthy and confusing. With an attorney on your side, you have a better chance of winning and getting your life back.
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