The courtroom dramas you see on television are fictionalized versions of what actually happens in real-life criminal court. On TV, it seems as if every criminal case goes to a trial and the defense and prosecution have to present their cases in front of a jury. However, many times a criminal case is resolved before it even makes it to trial.
If your criminal case does make it to trial, on TV it seems like it proceeds right to trial after being interrogated by the police. However, there are many other court dates and negotiations that take place before it makes it to trial. It can take months, even years, before a criminal case makes it in front of the jury.
Once you are arrested, your first hearing in front of the judge is called initial appearance. The judge will decide whether there was probable cause for your arrest and determine a bond amount. The next court date is arraignment, where you will enter your plea of “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “no contest” to the charges. By hiring a private attorney, they can enter the plea of “not guilty” for you, so you would not need to attend arraignment.
After arraignment and a “not guilty” plea is entered, your criminal defense attorney will collect evidence through the discovery process. Your defense attorney will also negotiate with the prosecution to obtain a plea bargain for a lesser charge or lighter sentence, or try and get the charges dropped altogether. Your defense attorney can also file motions to suppress evidence if there are constitutional violations present.
Most of the negotiations that happen in real life aren’t shown on TV, as it doesn’t make for a good, dramatic crime show. Usually going straight to trial makes everything more dramatic and keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. In reality, criminal proceedings can be not as exciting to an outsider as it mainly consists of phone calls and emails between the defense and prosecution.
If you find yourself facing criminal charges in Central Florida, contact experienced criminal defense attorney Brandon Gans today for a free consultation.