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What are the steps of the criminal justice system from the suspect's point of view?

Atlanta, GA |

I have read a bunch of confusing explanations of the criminal justice system that talk about pre-trial hearings, bond hearings, arraignments, etc. I have seen complicated, but colorful, diagrams that serve more to obfuscate the process than to explain it. What I was hoping someone could provide is a reference that explained the system from the suspect's point of view. What can I expect if I am arrested on suspicion of the commission of a felony? What are my responsibilities? What do I have to keep track of? What sorts of deadlines exist (like for requesting your personal belongings that are not being used as evidence)? I don't want to know what everyone else is doing, just where will I be sleeping and what do I have to do to get through this nightmare? Any help?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Hire a lawyer and let them worry about deadlines etc. You can address all these questions to your lawyer. Your question makes it sound like you are going to represent yourself. That is a terrible idea.

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Asker

Posted

Mr. Goldberg, you have not addressed the question or the context of the question. Rather than ask for clarification, you made assumptions and drew conclusions that are completely inapplicable to my situation. I will update the question with more details that hopefully will get a different reply than the generic, "hire an attorney" and "don't represent yourself".

Benjamin David Goldberg

Benjamin David Goldberg

Posted

Your question is very broad. It would take too long to answer everything in a forum like this. And, if you are being charged with a crime, which I assume you are because you described the situation as a "nightmare," you should not post details of your case in a public forum like this. You can get your question answered with all the details you want, but it should be with a lawyer after you explain to him or her everything that is going on.

Asker

Posted

Mr. Goldberg, I apologize for the lengthy delay in my response, but I had pretty much given up on finding the answers I was looking for on Avvo. That's when I realized that I was actually pretty clear in my request. I most certainly do not expect anyone here to outline the entire criminal justice system in the context of this forum. That's why I asked for a reference, a link to a more detailed explanation. I am advocating that people hire attorneys, but I wanted to indicate at each step of the process, why it is important to have an attorney. So I want this: http://www.bjs.gov/content/images/flowchrt.gif made understandable to someone in the middle of it. It's like justification for hiring an attorney.

Posted

Ben is right. Lawyers are generally highly trained and have dealt with issues like these time and time again. If you are in a position to retain a lawyer, choose one you trust as he or she will look out for your best interests and ensure that all these questions are answered and all of these issues are handled appropriately. To answer many of these questions-we would need more information from you. Feel free to reach out to me and I would be happy to see how I can help you.

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Posted

Mr. Spizman, I appreciate your reply and will update the question with more information.

Asker

Posted

Mr. Spizman, I apologize for the delayed response. I am not in any trouble with the law and this question was not about a specific circumstance. I am advocating for people to hire attorneys by showing them the different ways that it is important to have an attorney at ALL stages of the criminal justice system. The most effective way to communicate this, in my opinion, is to communicate to my audience (and yours, btw) by thinking about how they would feel. From your client's perspective, it is important that they understand step by step what is going to happen to them. Sure, it is not the same for every case, but a general idea of what happens in what order and why an attorney is a critical resource would benefit every attorney and their clients.

Posted

How it goes is largely up to you. After being arrested, IF you don't post bail immediately, you will attend a First Appearance hearing withing about 48 hours. IF you don't post bail after that, you will have a preliminary hearing scheduled within a week or so. iF you don't post bail after that, you can't seek lower bail in Superior Court. IF you are being held without bail, you will be indicted within 90 days and set for arraignment sometime after that. Now you are in Superior Court and the real fun begins.

If you are considering trying to represent yourself, you are making a huge mistake.

All of your belongings will be at the jail until you leave or sign them out to a friend or family member.

↓ Mark this answer as "Helpful" or "Best Answer" if you like it. For more information, contact us at www.SteakleyLawFirm.com or (404) 835-7595. The initial consultation is always free for Avvo users.

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Asker

Posted

Though I hope to make the information you provide in your link more user friendly, your link is a good step in the right direction. Thanks for your input.

John Arnold Steakley

John Arnold Steakley

Posted

More user friendly? It sounds as if I may need to rewrite the link if it's not already user-friendly. john.steakley@gmail.com

Posted

You ask very good questions, and we all must admit that the criminal justice system is far from perfect and can be a very intimidating place to be. I've been practicing for 20 years now in criminal law exclusively, and from the "suspect's" point of view I agree with your concerns. That is the very reason why you must sit down with an attorney to guide you through the process. Nothing should be too difficult for a competent criminal defense attorney.

To answer your question directly, with only the information you provided, if you are arrested on felony charge, expect to see a judge within 48 hours. As long as it is a bondable felony offense you can post bond, although in many cases, you may not have a preliminary hearing once you have posted bond. Feel free to call me to further discuss your case further, or at a minimum, contact an attorney that you are comfortable with as soon as you can.

Teri Thompson, Attorney
1745 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive
Atlanta, GA 30314
Office: 404-576-8262
Email: teri@terithompsonllc.com

Responses to questions do not in any way create or establish an attorney-client relationship.

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Posted

Ms. Thompson, thank you for your thoughtful and polite reply. I apologize that I failed to disclose a couple of key elements that would likely get a different response. I will update the question and would love your input if possible.

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