Crimes are broadly classified into four categories which include- personal crime (assault, battery, rape, false imprisonment, etc.); property crime (theft, arson, etc.), inchoate crimes (attempted crimes like conspiracy), and lastly Statutory crimes (violation of state or federal statutes). The category of crime decides the type of court you’ll appear in and the trial that you will face.
After being charged with a crime in New Jersey, the defendant receives a charge sheet detailing the crime he is being charged with. The police decide if you’ll be held in custody or will be sent home till the court hearing begins.
Being charged doesn’t imply one is guilty, it only indicates that there’s evidence against the person which is strong enough to bring them to court.
The process of a criminal case begins with investigations. After sufficient investigations; an arrest is made by a law enforcement officer only if he has a judge’s warrant. The information gathered by investigators is evaluated by prosecutors who then file charges.
The charged person has the right to find an attorney to defend his case. He should gather evidence supporting his claim and be prepared for the trial. An initial hearing is conducted shortly after the arrest. The defendant’s plea is heard, custody status is determined, and further dates of hearing are decided.
The steps that follow include discovery- getting to know the defendant’s side, plea bargaining wherein the defendant agrees to plead guilty and is saved from further charges and trial proceedings. The last part of the entire process involves a preliminary hearing which is a mini trial and ends with a trial.
Trials begin with jury selection, followed by preview of evidence as opening statements from both sides, after presentations a final statement to prove innocence or guilt is made. The judge evaluates the entire case and passes a verdict.
After this, the defendant is sentenced as guilty or not guilty. Penalties are issued, which could include monetary fines, imprisonment, or working for social good.
Despite looking like an end, the verdict might not be the final statement. If a defendant feels he has not been treated justly, he can always approach higher courts for review. Having a skilled attorney by your side throughout the case is highly crucial. They can help decide every step you take and get you closer to winning the case.