There are not many things in this world as scary as facing the possibility of the loss of freedom. Unfortunately, over the course of history, many innocent people have had to face that very likelihood. While we all hope that justice prevails, and put our trust in our legal system, it is still an adversarial system. That means that it sides with the person who argues best, not who is necessarily guilty or innocent. For those facing criminal charges, that means you need a good criminal lawyer in your corner to ensure you get a fair trial.

How the Criminal Defense Process Works

After an arrest, a judge will meet with you within 72 hours for pre-arraignment. At this point, they will read you your charges, your rights, and set bail.

After the pre-arraignment, a preliminary hearing is set. At this hearing, the Commonwealth accusing you of a crime must prove a prima facie case, meaning prove a crime has been committed, and you likely committed it. If they can prove this, then the case moves on to formal arraignment.

Formal arraignment is where the DA presents their case, and the defendant enters their plea. It is highly procedural, and sets a time limit for filing certain motions to request information.

After the formal arraignment, the defendant will go to a pre trial conference, where they can enter a plea deal if the Commonwealth offered them one. After a plea is entered, or a verdict is given, then sentencing begins. The judge will use a set of guidelines, as well as their own discretion, to determine sentencing.

Why Can’t I Represent Myself

Legally, you are allowed to represent yourself. However, as we mentioned, America has an adversarial system based on convoluted legal rules, so for your best chance at fair representation, you need someone who understands these laws in and out. For instance, if you miss a deadline to file a motion, as is possible during the formal arraignment, you could be blocked from access to exonerating evidence. Here at Dutko Law, you can trust our knowledge and experience in the legal field.

Are you being charged with a serious crime? If so, then you need a trusted felony lawyer on your side. Here at Dutko Law, we will fight to give you the representation you deserve and exhaust every possible avenue to prove your innocence. If you have any questions about how our services could help you, please do not hesitate to give us a call today. One of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives will be happy to answer any questions you may have.