The criminal process can be complex and confusing. But it's important to understand your legal rights. In the chance that criminal charges have been filed against you, you will need to make an appearance in court for an arraignment. If you've been jailed, your arraignment will most likely happen during the time frame of 72 hours since your arrest. Once you are arraigned, you will have to declare your plea for the charge that has been placed against you. A guilty plea means you are admitting to the crime. If you plead not guilty you are stating that the crime was not committed by you. Once you have made your plea, the judge will set a date for your trial or pretrial. A no contest plea is a bit different; it states that you admit neither guilt nor innocence of the charges. If you submit a guilty or no contest plea, there will not be a trial and you will then receive sentencing.
When the arraignment is taking place, bail will be set by the court or refuse to set bail, There is also the chance that they will release you on your own recognizance. This means that the court believes that you will show up to court when you are asked. You can pay your bail in cash, you may make of pledge of your property if the court accepts it, and of course there are always bail bonds. You can obtain a bail bond through a bail bondsman. This is a person who will grant you the bail money from his or her own funds, in return for a certain percentage in interest.
It is important for you to be aware of the fact that the 6th Amendment of the Constitution grants you the right to a speedy trial. You can waive this right by asking for additional time for your attorney to prepare your defense. Normally you have the right to a jury trial if you are charged with a crime punishable by six or more months of imprisonment. This right may be waived by pleading guilty or by choosing a bench trial, which means the judge alone will decide the verdict.
After conviction and sentencing, you have the right to file an appeal. There are numerous reasons for an appeal after a guilty verdict in a criminal case, including legal error. Legal error may include: Allowing inadmissible evidence, lack of sufficient evidence and mistakes in the judge's instructions to the jury. There are other reasons why you may appeal such as in the case of misconduct by the jurors, or if new evidence has arisen that may help to prove your innocence.