What to Expect When You Are Charged With a Misdemeanor
If you are facing a misdemeanor case, you should know that this is a crime that is punishable by maximum confinement of up to one year. It also carries fines, which is commonly set at a maximum of $1,000.00. As a defendant, remember that you are guaranteed certain rights, which include the right to an attorney, as well as the right to a jury trial. The duration of your case can go on from several months to more than a year, depending on the gravity and complexity.
Misdemeanor cases are broken down into three stages and these are the following:
At this stage, the court will ask that you enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty. The court will not consider whether the charges against you as true or not. No evidence will be presented as well. If you have hired a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville, IL, Noll law Office says he or she can appear on your behalf at the arraignment even without your presence in court. It is also at the arraignment that the court will set the dates for the pretrial and jury trial. Even if your case will not go to trial, it is a normal procedure to schedule a jury trial date, which will typically be reset several times.
Pretrials give you the opportunity to get all the evidence you need for your defense. This is also the time to take into account that evidence, while making efforts at negotiation. Most cases have two or three pretrials.
At the pretrial, the prosecuting attorney and your defense attorney will discuss the case. Your defense may ask for information and evidence from the prosecution. Both attorneys will also try to negotiate a possible resolution that is agreeable to both sides. If you already have an attorney, you do not need to be in the pretrial. Your attorney can represent you even without your personal appearance.
There are cases that do not go to trial but are resolved through a plea bargain. Every misdemeanor defendant, however, has the right to a trial by jury. If your case is not resolved at the pretrial stage, your attorney will have to settle it on the day of trial. The prosecution and court have ten days to start the trial. Misdemeanor trials usually take from two to five days.
Take note of these to better equip yourself. For a better defense, hire an attorney and consult on the best course of action.