After getting out of jail, you will have an arraignment within the next two weeks. Sometimes it is as short as seven to ten days. The arraignment is where you are formally charged. You receive either what is called a criminal information, or an indictment, depending on the jurisdiction.The information will tell you what you are being charged with. It will have the date, time, type of offense, and the circumstances around it; it will also list any witnesses. They will read that to you in an open court unless you waive the arraignment, meaning you can read you understand what is being charged against you, and you do not want the judge to read it aloud.
The judge will make sure that you understand your charges. If you do not have an attorney, they will give you the opportunity to retain one. The next step is if it is felony charges, they will have a preliminary hearing, which is a hearing for the prosecutor, who puts on witnesses to find out whether there is sufficient evidence to bind you over to trial.Now, if it is a misdemeanor case, they will set a pre-trial conference with the prosecutor. This means for you and your attorney to meet with the prosecutor, and work through details, and to see if a plea bargain can be reached, either a plea agreement, or whether the charges should be dismissed, or whether you are going to trial.
It is like a status conference so to speak in-between going to trial. Under a felony, the preliminary hearing, after that is over, most cases are bound over for trial. If an agreement is not reached with the prosecutor, then it is similar to what you see on TV, but it is not exactly that way. There is a formality involved in trials. You can choose to have a jury, or a judge trial. Most people go with juries, and jury trials, depending on the defense. We have done them in two to three hours, but sometimes they take weeks. It depends on the crimes that were committed, or allegedly committed.
How Do You Advise Clients That Want To Plead Guilty To A Crime?
It is never good to plead guilty. The reason for that is you need to understand your rights, and you need to understand that it is possible that you have no control over the sentencing. Therefore, it is always advisable to speak with an attorney who has your best interest in mind, who represents you, and wants to help, because even if you are guilty, there are ways to remediate the sentence, or get you a reduced sentence, and it is possible to get you a lower charge through negotiations. Sometimes you do not know because you do not know the facts of the law, and the circumstances of every case. It is possible that the police made a mistake in the investigation even if you are guilty, and you want that in your favor.
Anything that you can do to reduce your sentence, reduce what you are going to have to pay back to society, whether that would be through community service, restitution, or whether that would be through jail time, you want it to be as low as possible, so you can move on with your life. It also makes it easier to expunge the case, or the charge depending on the circumstances of the plea agreement, which would be negotiated on your behalf. You will be able to expunge that crime in the future. Sometimes, it is as short as thirty days after the criminal case concludes.
An expungement in Utah literally erases the case, the police report, and FBI report on file. Literally those files are destroyed as if it had never happened. Therefore, expungement is a very big deal, and you do not want to ruin your eligibility for an expungement, or the timeframe for getting it, sooner is always better than later.
Do Most Criminal Cases Settle Or Do They Go To Trial?
Typically, we see quite a few agreements settle before hand; especially if we are able to muster up witnesses, or point out where there have been flaws in the police reports. Prosecutors are very open. They do not want to waste their time, or be embarrassed at trial. Therefore, if we can reach an agreement with them that will be satisfactory to all parties, we will do that. Again, it goes on a case by case basis. So let me give you an example. In a recent drug case we tried, our client’s first defense had marijuana. The first thing we did was have him get an assessment by a psychologist to see if he was a threat to anyone, and then if he had any type of addiction, and show he was in counseling with a drug program.
By the time we got to the pre-trial conference, the prosecutor was so impressed with his counseling, and his report from his psychologist that he decided to dismiss the charges. We were able to get the charges dismissed simply because we were able to show that he had remediated the effects, and he attended counseling. He was not addicted to drugs, and that he was going to be just fine. It is harder, the more convictions, or charges you have against you, and every case is different, but if we can take advantage of those things, and get them fixed quickly, the prosecutors are much more open to a good deal for our clients.
For more information on Getting Out Of Jail In Utah, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 676-5506 today.