If you face criminal charges for the first time, you may feel overwhelmed and scared of what is to come. Here is information to help you understand the process you will likely go through in Pennsylvania.
Unless law enforcement arrests you on-site for a crime you just committed, you can expect the presentation of a warrant for your arrest. Warrants annotate a date and time for those facing arrest to turn themselves in. If you fail to turn yourself in, law enforcement may pick you up and bring you in for processing.
Within one day, you will see an arraignment court judge. This judge decides whether bail or bond is appropriate under the circumstances. Following the arraignment, the court sets a preliminary hearing date and issues a subpoena for your appearance on that date.
When accused of a crime in Pennsylvania, you have the right to a preliminary hearing. The prosecutor must prove that the person charged more than likely committed the crime. Only when the prosecution meets this burden does a case proceed to trial.
Preliminary hearings can benefit defense attorneys by enabling them to cross-examine witnesses at an early date and gain an understanding of the prosecution’s thought processes regarding your case. You maintain the right to a trial at a later date by either jury or judge.
Facing criminal charges is a nerve-wracking time for anyone. Understanding the process you will soon experience can help to eliminate some of the anxiety you feel during this uncertainty.