The Criminal Process

Criminal Defense Attorneys

The Criminal Investigation

Typically, a criminal investigation begins when someone notifies the police or law enforcement officers of an alleged crime. Investigators may question witnesses or they may interview the person accused of committing a crime. At this point, since the suspect has not been arrested, the police do not have to read him or her their rights. However, what you say may be used against you later in court if you freely share information with the police. If contacted or questioned by the police, ask if you are a suspect, if you are free to go, or if you must answer their questions. You can also ask for a lawyer. Don’t let the police convince you that you don’t need a lawyer. If an investigator gathers the kind of information he believes he needs to support an arrest warrant, you could find yourself arrested after a judge signs a warrant for your arrest.


After your arrest, an arraignment is held where the charges against you are read. After reading the charges against you, the court will also set your bond, indicating how much you have to pay in order to get out of jail while awaiting trial. Typically, the court will consider the charges against you, your criminal record, recommendations from the prosecutor, and your risk for flight. If you appear in court with your attorney, you stand a better chance of being released on your own recognizance or, at the very least, having a minimum/lower bond set.

Our attorneys ensure you understand the process while serving as an advocate on your behalf.

Preliminary Hearing

A preliminary hearing is used to answer two questions: was a crime committed and is it more than likely that the person arrested for the crime actually committed it? The prosecution need only establish an answer to these two questions. According to the procedural rules that govern preliminary hearings, the District Judge presiding over the preliminary hearing must believe the witnesses presented by the prosecution. Consequently, it is not in the best interests of the accused to provide witnesses of his or her own. In fact, given the nature of the preliminary hearing, it’s often better not to reveal one’s defense strategy until it can have the most effect – for instance, at trial in front of a jury. After the judge hears testimony and argument from both sides, the charges against you will either be dismissed, held over for court, or a combination of both if you face multiple charges.

The importance of conducting a preliminary hearing is often undervalued by many attorneys. The accused is not often aware that an opportunity was lost until a second opinion is sought out by the accused. We welcome those who are not happy with their current attorneys. Our free consultations provide you with a second opinion with no strings attached. We are confident that you will either feel more at ease with your current situation or you will want to retain us to protect your rights and lead you through the remaining process.

Formal Arraignment

The formal arraignment is the calendar control date when the prosecutor notifies the accused of the official charges against him or her. The criminal information sent to the accused will list the charges against which he or she must defend himself or herself. The formal arraignment also begins the timeline for deadlines that must be met. Failure to file notices may result in a lost opportunity to file pretrial motions. Additionally, when we accompany you to the formal arraignment, we enter our appearance so the courts and prosecutor will notify our office of any postponements or procedural changes affecting your case. By entering our appearance, prosecutors will also know whom to contact if negotiations or an opportunity for a plea bargain arises. The police will also know who to send any lab reports to concerning your case.

Pretrial Conference

A pre-trial conference provides the defense or the prosecution with an opportunity to present and argue pretrial motions filed after your formal arraignment. This is especially important if there are any issues surrounding the discovery process and sharing of information prosecutors are required to provide for your defense. At the pre-trial conference, our attorneys can bring these issues to light and argue our points before a judge. Perhaps most importantly, the pre-trial conference also provides the last opportunity to negotiate a plea prior to your case going to trial.


A trial is a presentation of each party’s case in front of a jury, judge or a combination of both depending upon the facts of each case. Proof beyond reasonable doubt is required prior to the finding of guilt. Reasonable doubt is doubt which causes a reasonable prudent person to hesitate when making one of life’s important decisions. The accused enjoys the presumption of innocence throughout the trial.

At trial, the accused enjoys the benefit of a cohesive defense that was prepared from the investigatory stage of the proceedings to trial. Further, it is at trial that the prosecution will get its first and last look at the theme and theory of the defense’s case. Effective defenses begin at the moment a person becomes a suspect and can range from an alibi, mistaken identity, entrapment or insanity defense to a burden of proof defense. There is no substitute for a well prepared attorney.


Sentencing only happens if the prosecution was able to meet its burden of proof and a conviction was obtained. Sentencing also happens after a guilty plea, negotiated or otherwise, is entered on the record. At that time, a person can be sentenced pursuant to a plea agreement, if one was negotiated, or a presentence investigation can be requested or ordered by the judge.

Throughout our representation of you, you will be constantly reminded of the potential penalty for the offenses with which you are charged. We do this not to scare you, but to make sure you understand the full effect of your decisions. Being aware of your options and the risks associated with those options is one of the most important services we, as experienced attorneys, can provide a client.

Contact Criminal Defense Attorneys

The criminal process can be confusing and stressful. To understand what your rights are and how we can help you protect your interests, contact criminal defense attorneys at the law office of attorneys Cro & Rue.

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