After being arrested, your case is sent to the District Attorney's office in the county in which the offense is alleged to have occurred. If you are arrested for a misdemeanor offense, your case will be delivered to a prosecutor who will choose to file the case by Complaint and Information. If your case is a felony, your case must be indicted by the Grand Jury. Once your case's Information is filed, or if the grand jury "true bills" your case, you become formally charged with the offense, and should receive notice of your first court setting. You should have already retained a criminal attorney at this time, but if you have not, the judge will give you additional time to find one.
Once you have an attorney, they will meet with the prosecuting attorney and review their case file to inspect any evidence the state may have against you. Depending on the case, you may be required to attend multiple court settings before your case is resolved. If you fail to appear at any of your court settings, the judge will announce that you have forfeited your bond (i.e. stating you are a "bond forfeiture"), and issue an arrest warrant to place you back into custody until your case is resolved. Typically, if you have failed in the past to appear for a court setting, the judge will be unlikely to reinstate your bond, or even if they do, your bond may come with additional conditions such as electronic monitoring, curfew checks, and monthly fees.
To Plea or Not to Plea
You must be patient with the criminal justice process. There are thousands of cases in the system and it takes time. The earlier you hire an attorney, the less painful the process will be. The vast majority of cases are resolved by a plea bargain. There are simply too many cases in the system for the prosecutor to take each one to trial. He or she must plea bargain or dismiss a high percentage of their cases simply out of necessity. Sometimes, however, certain cases cannot be resolved through a plea bargain, or you may come into contact with a prosecutor who has an unreasonable expectation of the case.
Post-conviction, dismissal, or acquittal
If you are found guilty of the offense by a jury, you have a right to appeal the case to the Court of Appeals. If you pled guilty to the charge, you only have a limited right to appeal, and must obtain permission to appeal from the trial court judge before doing so. If the case was dismissed, the case is over and done with, but you must wait until after the statute of limitations has expired before you can ask for an expungement. If you were acquitted by a jury, you are entitled to an expungement immediately, since double jeopardy will prevent the case from being retried.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.
What determines Avvo Rating?
Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, education
Legal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awards
Legal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagements
This lawyer was disciplined by a state licensing authority in .
Disciplinary information may not be comprehensive, or updated. We recommend that you always check a lawyer's disciplinary status with their respective state bar association before hiring them.