If you are facing an Okmulgee misdemeanor trial, it can be helpful to know about the steps that will most likely take place. It can also help to understand how your attorney can help your case at each step, including the various points to resolve your case along the way.
Step One: Criminal Investigation
A criminal investigation conducted by the police begins the process. Sometimes, misdemeanor cases have little to no real investigation. In others, an investigation can include interviews with you and other possible witnesses and suspects.
An attorney’s help in this stage can help a person from making statements that might incriminate them. Moreover, if all statements to the police are funneled through your attorney, your attorney can help educate the District Attorney regarding the relative strengths and weaknesses of the case. This can result in the DA choosing to not file charges against you.
Step Two: Bond Hearing
Since many Oklahoma counties use a set schedule for bail bonds based on the charges, any deviation from that set bond amount requires a motion and hearing on the bond. Your Okmulgee misdemeanor attorney can help the court understand the particular issues of your case in setting the bond amount. Your attorney may even be able to persuade the court to have you released on your own recognizance. This can get a defendant released early and still ensure that the defendant will appear for all their criminal hearings and for trial.
Step Three: Arraignment
Arraignment is the step in which the defendant is informed of the charges they face. The charges are read, and often the defendant pleads to those charges. At this juncture, the court will want to ensure that the defendant has access to a criminal defense attorney — either a public defender or a private attorney. If you are represented at this step, your criminal defense attorney can make this appearance on your behalf.
Step Four: Status Conference
The status conference can be an important step in the misdemeanor process. It is the first time your attorney and the prosecution can sit down and really discuss your case. By this time, usually, information has been exchanged and both sides can discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the case.
Sometimes, plea deals can be worked out. Many criminal cases are resolved this way. Representation at this time can be crucial to understand whether you should accept a plea deal that is being offered.
Step Five: Discovery Hearing
By law, the prosecution must turn over evidence that they have regarding a defendant’s case. This includes evidence that incriminates the defendant, but it can also include evidence they have that shows a defendant’s innocence.
Sometimes, the prosecution does not turn over all of their evidence. When that occurs, your criminal defense attorney can ask the court for certain remedies: to compel the evidence, to exclude certain evidence at trial, or even for a dismissal of the charges. This is a crucial time to have an experienced Okmulgee criminal defense attorney at your side.
Step Six: Motion Hearing
At this stage, your attorney has had a chance to investigate your case more fully. Issues such as unlawful search and seizure, a coerced confession, and the like may come to light. These issues are handled at this stage. An experienced attorney will file motions before the court to address these issues.
A coerced confession may be excluded at trial. When evidence is obtained by an illegal search or seizure, that evidence may also be excluded.
When prosecution evidence is to be excluded at trial, often the prosecution is left with little or no case. This is an opportunity for an experienced Okmulgee attorney to argue to have the charges dismissed or to work out a deal with the prosecution.
Step Seven: Pre-Trial
The pre-trial conference takes place before the trial itself. By this point, both sides know their cases and all the evidence they want to present. Each side knows what documentary evidence will need to be admitted at the trial and which witnesses will need to testify. Witness lists and exhibit lists are exchanged.
Pre-trial motions called motions in limine are heard at this time. These can limit what evidence will or will not be admitted. Because of that, they are instrumental in narrowing issues at trial.
Your Okmulgee misdemeanor defense lawyer will have prepared these in anticipation of the pre-trial conference.
Step Eight: Trial
The state has the burden of proving every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. That is a high burden to meet. There may be significant issues with the state’s evidence.
It’s your attorney’s job to challenge that evidence and to present a strong defense to the charges that have been brought against you. Every aspect of a trial is important to its outcome. That is why it is so important to have an experienced Okmulgee misdemeanor defense attorney represent you, not only at the trial itself but at each stage of the trial.
Step Nine: Sentencing
This is the last step in the process. Sentencing may occur as soon as the trial is done. Other times, the judge will set another date for sentencing. There is often a mini-trial on the issue of sentencing alone.
Sentencing can be affected by the defendant’s prior criminal history. If a defendant has been convicted of a felony before the current court case, the sentence can be higher.
If the case is a subsequent offense, the matter can be treated as a felony which necessitates longer jail time. It is important to have your attorney work with you at this phase to ensure that any sentence is minimized.
There are so many crucial moments in a criminal proceeding. Having an attorney you trust can help you get the best possible outcome in your criminal case.
Free Consultation With An Okmulgee Misdemeanor Attorney
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