Procedural drama TV shows have been popular for decades. People love to watch as a case unfolds before their eyes and the suspect is tried in a court. What you do not see is the amount of work, knowledge, and persistence that goes on behind the scenes to ensure the case is in compliance with federal laws and the laws of the state of Maryland.
What is a crime?
A crime is the violation of a federal or state law. Crimes are generally divided into misdemeanors, or lesser crimes and felonies, or more severe crimes. Some examples of crimes include:
- Child Abuse
- Conspiracy and Attempt
- Narcotics charges (including possession with the intent to distribute)
- Obstruction of Justice
- Reckless Endangerment
- Resisting Arrest
- Sex Offenses
- Weapons charges
Steps in Criminal Proceedings
Once a case if filed with the State’s Attorney’s Office, a summons is issued to the defendant (the person suspected of committing the crime) notifying them that they have been charged with a crime and needs to appear in court on a particular date. A warrant may also be issued at that time to hold the defendant in custody until a bail hearing can take place. The first time the defendant appears in court, the judge informs the individual that they have the right to have legal counsel from a qualified attorney, the nature of the charges being levied against them, and dates for trial. At this point, the process of Discovery begins. During Discovery, information that will be submitted to the court during trial is shared between the attorneys and pretrial requests to either hear or suppress evidence are made. Based on this evidence, a defendant may decide to plead guilty, and the attorneys may reach an agreement on the type of charges to be brought and the sentence to be imposed. If the defendant decides to plead not guilty, the case then goes to trial where evidence is presented to a jury who must decide whether the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt or not.
Criminal Defense Attorneys Help You Maintain Your Rights
Many people wait until they are brought up on criminal charges before seeking the advice of a criminal defense attorney. In reality, criminal defense attorneys ensure your rights remain intact throughout the investigative process. Whether you are being questioned in a case, considered a suspect, or are simply a bystander, you are entitled to have an attorney present during questioning. This right falls under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution and is considered a part of “procedural due process.” Procedural due process guarantees that your civil rights will not be violated as a result of a criminal investigation.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, consult Catherine Flynn to discuss your case.