An arrest is sometimes a life-changing event. It is also a very frightening one. Knowing what is going to happen allows you to prepare for each stage as it comes.
Understanding the stages of a trial will help to reduce your confusion and stress during this trying time.
First appearance or bond hearing
Depending on the offense, your first appearance before anyone will be in front of the magistrate. This is where they decide to set your bail or bond and read the charges. Sometimes these two happen simultaneously. Other times it is two separate hearings.
Arraignment and preliminary hearing
During the arraignment, you submit a plea of guilty or not guilty. They will also decide if there is enough evidence to continue onto a trial. If they have probable, your case will continue onto the grand jury.
Grand jury hearing
During this hearing, the grand jury listens to the evidence of the prosecution. This is to determine whether an inditement is necessary and if they want to continue with the case.
During the pre-trial, both sides present motions regarding evidence. Sometimes they want to suppress evidence, and sometimes they present administrative motions.
This is the portion you are probably most familiar with. If it is a jury trial, a jury hears opening statements and evidence. Then they deliberate and come back with a verdict of guilty or not guilty.
Assuming the jury doesn’t acquit you, the next step is sentencing. This is where you find out what will happen if the jury returns a guilty verdict.
This is a general view of what will happen when an officer arrests you for a crime. It may differ depending on your individual case.