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7-Steps In the Criminal Justice Process

The criminal justice process contains governmental procedures and establishments to maintain social order, discourage criminal activity, punish lawbreakers, and suggest severe consequences. Different states have different criminal justice systems, and there are formal and informal justice systems.

A formal procedure fulfills the law and protects every community member through conviction, punishment, and rehabilitation.

On the other hand, there is no legal authority overseeing the informal judicial system. The judgment is based on the opinions of tribal, religious, or local leaders.

Here, we discuss the 7-steps of the criminal justice system

Arrest by Police

Initially, a criminal case typically involves the police arresting the defendant. This happens when police identify a suspect during an investigation, after responding to a call, or during a traffic stop. In many cases, police in some jurisdictions must acquire an arrest warrant.

The legal basis for an arrest is probable cause. It denotes a probable connection between a certain individual and a specific crime.

 Criminal Investigation for Evidence

Police start an investigation when they learn of possible criminal conduct. This can happen in several ways, such as when an officer witnesses someone acting suspiciously or a victim reports it.

The purpose of this phase is to obtain additional evidence about the suspect. Gathering supporting evidence against the criminal enables a formal arrest or other legal action.

Arraignment and Bond Hearing

Following your indictment, you will make your initial court appearance before the Judge. Usually, your arrest is also the day of your arraignment. You’ll hear the details of your charges during the arraignment and be able to enter a guilty or not guilty plea.

The court will decide on the terms of your release and establish your bail after informing you of your right to legal representation. Your release on your recognizance may be possible if your crime is not too serious.

Pretrial Release Conditions through Bail Bondsman

The Judge may also discuss bond or bail and release terms during the arraignment. In some circumstances, a defendant detained and charged with a crime may be released from detention before the arraignment by posting bail through the services of a bail bondsman or by being released on their recognizance (OR) release. Upon the defendant’s booking at the jail, the Judge may consider release at the time of arraignment.

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Trial By Jury

A defendant is entitled to a jury trial in numerous state and federal criminal prosecutions. They can skip a jury trial in favor of a bench trial, in which the Judge will make decisions based on the law and the facts. The defendant makes their case after the state does.

The jury deliberates and returns a verdict of “guilty” or “not guilty” after the evidence. The state may be able to retry the case with a new jury if the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, which the court may rule to be a mistrial.

Pre-Sentence Investigation

After the plea or conviction of guilty, the offender may be sent by the Judge to a probation officer who interviews the offender to evaluate his special difficulties, such as drugs/alcohol, or a psychological evaluation.

The officer then provides the Judge with a report that includes suggestions for the offender’s sentence. The right to complete a victim impact statement is at this point for victims. You can provide the sentencing judge with your opinions regarding the case using this document.

Punishment and rehabilitation

Punishment and rehabilitation are administered by municipal, state, or federal correctional agencies. Most prisoners are released before their maximum terms expire and serve only part of their sentence. A court’s maximum sentence may be served, or an early release method like parole or pardon may be used to get out of jail.

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