There are two main categories of crimes: felony and misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is an offense that is not very serious. It is a minor violation, for which the guilty is punished by a fine or jail time of less than one year.
Felony on the other hand is a serious crime, for which the guilty is punished through more than 1 year in prison or a death sentence.
A criminal prosecutor begins the case by filing a criminal complaint through grand jury indictment. Generally, the criminal case proceedings involve the following steps:
- The defendant is either arrested or summoned to appear in court.
- Charges are filed in court.
- Prosecutor and defense attorney discuss a plea bargain.
- Court hearings are held and the trial begins.
- The verdict is handed down.
- If the defendant is found guilty, the defendant is sentenced. Or the defendant pleads guilty.
- The post-conviction appeals may be filed.
A prosecutor is required to prove beyond doubt that the person has committed a crime, the defendants are not required to prove anything. The defense may have to challenge the evidence government has, identify constitutional problems, and negotiate with prosecutors. The convicted individuals mostly lose their freedom until the case is dismissed or the defendant is found not guilty.
The 4th amendment provides several legal protections and rights to the defendant when accused of a crime. The rights of criminal defendants include:
- Miranda Warning
These are the most basic rights read to the accused by the police when taken in custody. The rights are as follows:
- Right to remain silent.
- Right to an attorney.
- Right to have the services of a court-appointed attorney if they cannot afford one.
- Due Process Rights
Due process rights require the government to follow a ‘due process’ before depriving the defendant’s right to ‘liberty, property, or life’. The due process encompasses:
- Right to be informed of the charges
- Right to confront and cross-examine government’s witnesses
- Right to a fair trial
Criminal defense lawyers can help you reach the best outcomes when you have everything at stake. A criminal defense lawyer can help you protect your rights, shows you all the options you have, and determine a defense strategy that helps avoid potential penalties.