Steps in a Criminal Case

Steps in a Criminal CaseAhearing Crime Is Allegedly CommittedPolice are notified of an alleged crime and conduct an investigation.
ArrestPolice may arrest a suspect on the spot if the officer has probable cause to believe a misdemeanor or felony was committed. The police may refer the case to the District Attorney's Office with suggested potential charges. 
The District Attorney's Office Reviews The CaseA prosecuting attorney will determine whether a person should be charged with a crime after thoroughly reviewing all reports and records, witness statements, and the suspect's prior criminal or traffic record. The criminal case is either charged or declined.
Initial AppearanceAt an initial appearance, the judge or court commissioner informs the defendant what the charge(s) are, maximum penalty if convicted, and their rights to an attorney. If the defendant is still in jail, bail and any other conditions are set. Often a "No Contact Order" will be imposed, which prohibits the defendant from having any contact with a person who is a victim or a witness in the case.
review_caseEntering A PleaIn misdemeanor cases, the defendant is asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. In felony cases, a date is set for a preliminary hearing.
Pre-Trial ConferenceA meeting or notification from the District Attorney's office regarding the offer to resolve the matter short of trial.
Status ConferenceA court hearing to evaluate the status, or progress and direction, of a case.
Preliminary Hearing (only in Felony cases)This is an evidentiary hearing in which the District Attorney's office must prove to a judge or court commissioner that there is enough evidence (Probable Cause) to believe the defendant committed a felony.
Arraignment (Felony cases)A criminal defendant's first appearance on the formal charges before a judge. The defendant is formally charged and enters a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. This occurs at the initial appearance in misdemeanor cases and at some point following bind over at preliminary hearings in felony cases.
justicePlea HearingA hearing at which the defendant responds to a criminal charge by entering a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. A plea agreement or plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest under certain terms and conditions.
TrialA hearing at which evidence is presented to a judge or jury to determine whether the defendant is guilty of the offenses charged. A defendant may be found guilty of allJustice, some, or none of the criminal charges.
SentencingA hearing at which the Court determines and imposes the penalties appropriate for crimes established by convictions.

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ext. 421 or 279

18600 Hobson Street
Whitehall, WI 54773

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