Criminal pleadings are the tools the state uses to prosecute criminal offenses. In misdemeanor cases tried in district court and on appeal for a de novo trial in the superior court, the pleadings include arrest warrants, criminal subpoenas, subpoenas, magistrates' orders, and statements of charge. In felony cases that are initially tried in a higher court, the state must obtain an indictment or criminal information. Criminal prosecution takes place in a series of stages, starting with an arrest and ending at a time before, during, or after the trial.
Most criminal cases end when a defendant accepts a plea agreement offered by the prosecution. In a plea agreement, the defendant chooses to plead guilty before trial to the offenses charged, or lesser charges in exchange for a more lenient sentence or the dismissal of related charges. Criminal prosecution generally begins with an arrest by a police officer. A police officer may arrest a person if (the officer observes the person committing a crime); (the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime; or (the officer makes the arrest under the authority of a valid arrest warrant).
After arrest, police search suspect. When the police complete the booking process, they place the suspect in custody. If the suspect committed a misdemeanor, the policy may issue a summons to the suspect with instructions to appear in court at a later date. If a suspect in police custody is granted bail, the suspect can pay the bail amount in exchange for a release.
Bail is contingent on the suspect's promise to appear in all scheduled court proceedings. A suspect may be granted bail immediately after booking or at a subsequent bail review hearing. Alternatively, a suspect may be released on his own responsibility. A suspect released under his own recognition does not need to pay bail, but must promise in writing that he will appear at all scheduled court appearances.
Freedom of recognition is granted after the court considers the seriousness of the crime and the suspect's criminal record, the threat to the community, and links to family and employment. Suspect makes first court appearance at arraignment. During arraignment, the judge reads the charges brought against the defendant in the lawsuit and the defendant decides to plead guilty, not guilty, or not to contest those charges. The judge will also review the defendant's bail and set dates for future proceedings.
Both the prosecution and the defense file pre-trial motions in order to resolve the final issues and establish what evidence and testimony will be admissible at trial. At trial, the judge or jury will find the defendant guilty or not guilty. The prosecution assumes the burden of proof in a criminal trial. Therefore, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crimes charged.
The defendant has a constitutional right to a jury trial in most criminal matters. A jury or judge makes the final determination of guilt or innocence after hearing opening and closing statements, questioning and cross-examining witnesses, and jury instructions. If the jury fails to reach a unanimous verdict, the judge can declare the trial null and void and the case will be dismissed or a new jury elected. If a judge or jury finds the defendant guilty, the court will sentence the defendant.
During the sentencing phase of a criminal case, the court determines the appropriate punishment for the convicted defendant. In determining an appropriate sentence, the court will consider a number of factors, including the nature and seriousness of the offense, the defendant's criminal history, the defendant's personal circumstances, and the degree of remorse felt by the defendant. Federal rules for criminal cases can be found in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which govern all aspects of criminal trials. Each state has its own similar rules.
State criminal procedure is defined by the state constitution, statutes, rules and court decisions of each state. This procedure may vary from state to state, but it is usually very similar to federal criminal procedure. Other criminal acts are crimes under both federal and state law; so in those cases, federal and county prosecutors must decide if the offender should be tried in U. The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure promulgated by Congress in 1945 supplement the rights provided for in the Constitution.
One area of criminal law that currently receives a lot of attention is the regulation and prosecution of drug-related offenses related to medical marijuana. A magistrate can issue an order for any criminal offense (felony or misdemeanor) for which the magistrate finds probable cause. Once federal or state crimes have been committed, reported, investigated, and an arrest has been made, there are several criminal proceedings that a defendant will undergo. While these are listed as required components of a criminal argument, their absence does not necessarily invalidate the allegation.
The standard of proof in a criminal trial gives the prosecutor a much greater burden than the plaintiff in a civil trial. Due to state trends toward legalizing medical marijuana, this is an area of criminal law that is in the process of change. For more information on the differences between federal criminal procedure and state criminal procedure, contact a criminal lawyer who is well-versed in criminal law. A criminal subpoena must contain a statement of the crime or offense charged and must inform the defendant that he or she can be held in contempt of court for failing to appear as directed.