Stages of a Criminal Case
The first stage of a criminal case is the arraignment. At the arraignment, the Court will inform the accused of the criminal charges against them, and, generally, a plea is entered—that plea most often being, “Not Guilty.” After hearing argument from both the prosecution and defense lawyer, the Court will decide certain issues, such as bail. While arraignments in New York State are generally the same, it is important to know the nuances of the individual criminal courts. Suffolk County, Nassau County and New York City all have little procedural differences. Knowing these differences could affect the outcome of the proceeding.
After the arraignment, a criminal case will be scheduled for a conference date. Conference dates are scheduled court appearances, which usually occur approximately once every four to five weeks. During conferences, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys and judges discuss the factual and legal issues involved in your specific case. An experienced criminal defense attorney will also speak with and engage in a back and forth with the prosecution in between conference dates. It is essential that you have a Suffolk County Criminal Attorney representing you at and in-between all conference dates.
Most cases are resolved with a “plea bargain”. An agreement that is acceptable to both the Suffolk County prosecutor and the defense attorney, after consultation with and agreement by his client. Before entering into a plea bargain, an experienced Suffolk County criminal lawyer will engage in extensive negotiations with the prosecution. During these negotiations, your Suffolk County criminal attorney should be pointing out the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. If the prosecution’s case is strong, your Suffolk County Criminal attorney should be coming up with other arguments as to why a better plea bargain is the proper and just resolution of your case. An experienced Suffolk County criminal lawyer also should be file a demand for discovery. Discovery is a term used to describe all information, documentary evidence and physical evidence that a defendant is entitled to have disclosed to his attorney and to him by law. Oftentimes, motions addressing various pre-trial issues are necessary and must be filed in the defendant’s best interests. Having the right criminal attorney during this process is very important. The right criminal lawyer is essential to achieve the best possible outcome.
James Pascarella is a Suffolk County Criminal Attorney who has successfully represented countless clients in Nassau County, Suffolk County and New York City. He also has successfully handled federal cases in other parts of the country.