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6 Steps in Criminal Procedures

Describe the steps in criminal procedure. (There are six (main) steps.)

Define evidence. What types of evidence exist? What are the rules for evidence in criminal procedure? Describe examples of when evidence might be either detrimental or inconsequential to a case?

Describe the difference between lay witnesses and expert witnesses. What are some potential problems with both types?

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Describe the steps in criminal procedure. (There are six (main) steps.)

A crime is committed, it is reported, an investigation conducted and an arrest made (these may all occur in rapid sequence if the offense is committed in the presence of a law enforcement officer)

Booking - An administrative procedure which records the defendant's name, the crime charged, and other relevant information about the defendant (telephone number and address, photograph, fingerprints, etc.)

Arraignment - When the defendant appears in court and enters a plea (guilty or not guilty, or sometimes "nolo contendere" [no contest]). The defendant is presented with a written accusation dealing the facts of the crime and his/her involvement in the crime. The written accusation may be presented by a grand jury, a prosecutor or a police officer. If the defendant enters a not guilty plea, a date for trial is set.

Bail or Detention - Bail is either set or the defendant is required to be "detained" (kept in jail until the trial). Bail could range from being "released on your own recognizance" (in other words, you are on your honor to appear at the next hearing), to many thousands of dollars. When a higher amount of bail is set, a bail bondsman is often called to provide the bail payment in exchange for a fee and a lien against property (as collateral) of the defendant. If bail is posted, the defendant is released but must show up at the next hearing (or bail will be forfeited).

Preliminary Hearing - A hearing in which a judge determines whether the defendant should be held for trial. At the "prelim," the prosecution has the burden of providing sufficient evidence to the judge that a crime has occurred and that the defendant committed the crime.

Trial - Opening statements, examination of witnesses and presentation of evidence, closing statements, charging the jury (giving the jury its instructions), verdict rendered by the jury after due deliberation, and entering of the verdict (either guilty, guilty of a lesser included or related offense, or not guilty). After a verdict is issued, the defendant may try a post trial motion, such as a motion for a new trial.

Sentencing - When a defendant has been found guilty by trial or has plead guilty, a hearing is set to determine the imposition of the sentence. Sentencing reports, which set forth mitigating and compounding factors (prior payment of restitution may be a mitigating factor, other convictions of crimes may be a compounding factor) are often submitted to the judge and then the judge pronounces judgment at a sentencing hearing (in some jurisdictions juries or sentencing councils render the sentence).

Fine, Probation, Jail - The defendant may be ordered to pay a fine, be released but subject to specific terms of probation, or sent directly to jail. If a person violates the terms of his/her probation, s/he may have his/her probation revoked, and be sent to jail.

Appeal - After conviction of a crime, the defendant has appellate proceeding which may be available to determine whether all substantive and procedural law issues were properly conducted at the trial.

Define evidence. What types of evidence exist? What are the rules for evidence in criminal procedure? Describe examples of when evidence might be either detrimental or inconsequential to a case?

The law of evidence governs the use of testimony (eg. oral or written ...

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