What Happens After Charges Are Filed
What Happens After Charges Are Filed?
Ones the suspect gets arrested in Orange County Ca, police decide if they are going to file charges. The case goes to the District Attorney who decides if he is going to proceed with the same charge stated by the police, increase or decrease the charge based on facts from the case, circumstances under which violation happened as well as suspect’s criminal record also known as “priors”. On many occasions, the suspect stays behind the bars until he “sees the Judge” and at that point would be decided if he is going to be released on bond or “promise to appear”. The Santa Ana Bail Bonds amount could be set even before the initial (arrangement) hearing. The first hearing is usually held within a day or two after the suspect got arrested.
Initial Court hearing
First court appearance and hearing is known as an “arrangement hearing”. At that hearing, the Judge goes through the circumstances and determines if there was a probable cause for the arrest itself and at the same time reviews the facts provided by the prosecutor. If the legal ground has been established to file charges and probable cause is determined, the case will go further beyond this initial hearing and at that point, most of the time; the Orange County bail bonds amount is going to be set by the Judge. If the defendant did not have prior convictions and the law violation (most likely) will not put the defendant for many years in prison, the Judge might decide to release the defendant on promise to appear. If the defendant failed to comply with this type of promise in the past, it is unlikely that he is going to get the same chance the second time around. At the arraignment hearing, the bond amount is usually granted according to the charge in the standard amount.
Arraignment hearing and a plea
At this type of initial hearing, defendant will also have the opportunity to respond on charges filed against him by entering a formal plea. In other words, he will plead guilty or not guilty. Besides two mentioned options, the defendant can choose something in-between known as “no contest”, but that kind of plea is treated by the criminal court the same way as “guilty”. At this point, it is highly advisable for the defendant to hire an Attorney if he did not do that earlier, before he decides which plea he is going to take. If the defendant does not have financial means and there is a possibility that the outcome of this case can lead to jail time sentence – an Attorney will be assigned to the defendant at the public cost. Entering a plea should not be rushed, since this part of the case procedure can reflect into life time consequences if the defendant makes a bad decision.
Bond and release
If the Santa Ana bail bonds amount is set and the defendant posts the required funds as a security that he will appear at the further Court hearings, he is going to be released. On the other hand, if the defendant “bailed out” and he did not appear at the Court hearing, “security amount” will be taken and warrant for his arrest issued. Only three reasons could be accepted for not show up at the court: (1) if the defendant was seriously sick and had to remain in hospital in the order not to put his life in jeopardy, (2) if the defendant was arrested or served the sentence for some other crime and (3) if the defendant served in the army. The Orange County bail bonds amount, as previously mentioned, is set according to the charge itself, while on the other hand many additional things can play the part in the amount determination. Family ties, property ownership and long term employment or private business would be favorable – it is less likely that the defendant is going to flee or put his family in jeopardy. For very serious violations of the law, the Judge might even deny bond, which means that the defendant will have to remain in custody during the whole trial procedure and continue serving the sentence ones the court procedure is over.
Level of charge and further proceedings
Misdemeanor charge will have slightly different court procedures than a felony. First and foremost, the court which handles misdemeanor cases is known as a “Misdemeanor Court”. Let’s start from the beginning. Let’s say that the defendant was charged with a misdemeanor, once the arraignment hearing is over, the next hearing would be known as “pretrial”. This is the part of hearing where “plea bargain” might be established and lesser charge taken, so that the case does not go to the long and expensive process known as trial.
Felony cases have different procedures and terminology. If the person was charged with a felony, the second hearing would be known as “preliminary examination”. Evidence will be submitted, proving that there is a strong reason to believe that the crime was committed and the charges are applicable according to the law. At this point, “plea bargain” might work as well and even sometimes the charge can be dropped to a misdemeanor level if negotiation was successful. Everything else beyond this point would leads to a trial where all the evidence is going to be closer examined as well as the testimonies given by the witnesses.
Before the case goes to the trial, both sides may file variety of motions. The most common motion would be to dismiss the case. This type of motion would have to have very solid legal ground to succeed, in other words – procedural deficiency should be at the very high level in the order for the case to be dismissed as a result of the motion. Few other motioned, such the motion to suppress the evidence might ask the Court to exclude some evidence brought against the defendant if they have been obtain with violation of constitutional rights. Certain things should not be considered as evidence, such as news paper article about the case, since journalists are not relevant authorities and their opinion does not hold legal grounds. However, many cases know how to be “politically painted” if they took public attention and the case procedure is going to be closely watched by the media. That would be the case when some famous movie star or politician gets charged.
Witnesses could be invited by both sides
Both sides of the case – prosecutor and the defendant could bring relevant witnesses to the Court. On many occasions, witnesses are not even villain to testify and the most common reason would be personal safety. Another reason would be that they have enough of their personal problems and they prefer not to get involved in someone else’s case and life. In the case that the witness tries to avoid Court appearance, a court subpoena might be issued and the witness would be obliged by the Court to appear or warrant for his arrest is going to be issued.
by Chuck Portola, your Santa Ana bail bonds specialist