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The Process of a Criminal Case: PreTrial

Following the arraignment in a criminal case, the process can vary depending on the charges and the plea that was made by the defendant. When the defendant pleads not guilty in a misdemeanor case, the discovery period will take place. This is when the defense and prosecution exchange information that relates to the case.

Next, both sides can file pretrial motions if they choice and they also have the option for seeking a dismissal of the case or to have certain evidence not used at trial. The defendant also has the option of changing their plea at this time if they choose to do so. Lastly, the lawyers and the judge may work together to see if there is a way that the case can be resolved without having to go to trial.

If a case is not settled or dismissed for a felony, a preliminary hearing may be held by the judge. At this point they want to hear the evidence and see if there is enough evidence for a trial to take place. If there is then the prosecutor will need to file the Information. A second arraignment will take place and the defendant will again be asked how they plead.

As in a misdemeanor case, the prosecution and defense will also exchange information during the discovery period. If they wish, pretrial motions can be filed, they can seek to have the case dismissed, they can attempt to have evidence removed from trial and the defendant can change their plea. The judge and the lawyers will also talk to see if there is a way that they can avoid having the case go to trial. Find out more about the criminal process or retain a San Bernardino, CA criminal lawyer if you have been charged for a crime.