1. What happens if I am arrested?
When you are arrested, the police usually bring you to the police station for booking. (If you need to be taken to a hospital, you will be brought there first, before you are taken to the police station). At the station, police will write down your general information on a form, a picture is usually taken along with fingerprints. You will be given an opportunity to use the telephone.
2. What happens if I receive a complaint and notice of criminal charges and a date to appear in court in the mail (and I am not arrested)?
You should go to court on that date. It is important to make sure you arrive on time. The information listed below applies when you have been summonsed to court, as well as to those who have been arrested (except an arrestee is not entitled to a show cause hearing).
3. What happens if I am charged with a crime but I am not a United States citizen?
You have the right to be advised of potential immigration consequences resulting from your criminal case by both the judge and your defense lawyer before you plead guilty or go to trial.
4. What happens if I do not go to court?
If you do not go to court on the date that you are supposed to, then a warrant for your arrest may be issued on that day. If you miss court, go to the clerk's office immediately and explain the situation. You may be assigned another court date. It is your responsibility to arrive at court on the right day and at the right time.
5. What occurs at a pre-trial conference?
You, or your lawyer, and the prosecutor exchange information about the case. This is called "discovery". During the pre-trial conference either side can file or set a date for filing motions, including a motion to dismiss the complaint or to prevent certain evidence from being used at trial. The next court date scheduled may be for motions or trial or both.
6. What happens at trial?
During the trial, the lawyers (or defendant without a lawyer) present evidence through witnesses who testify about what they saw, heard or know and sometimes through documents and other evidence that can be used at trials. The lawyers (or the defendant without a lawyer) elicit this evidence by asking the witnesses questions. Witnesses may not simply tell their story without being guided through the testimony by the lawyers’ questions. After all the evidence is presented, the lawyers (or defendant without a lawyer) give their closing arguments. Finally, the jury decides if the defendant is guilty or not guilty or if there is no jury, a judge will decide. The jury must be unanimous in deciding that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
7. Can I appeal a guilty verdict?
Yes. There are many possible reasons to appeal a verdict in a criminal case。n appeal is not a new trial. If your appeal is successful, the appellate court may grant you a new trial, send the case back to the trial court for a hearing or, in unusual circumstances, dismiss your case. The appellate court can review the evidence (testimony and exhibits) presented at your trial to see if there was a legal error. The appellate court does not decide the facts of the case as the judge or the jury in a trial does.