What to Expect in Your Criminal Case

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If you are arrested and charged with a crime, it is normal not to know what to expect to happen. Even if you have had experience with the criminal justice system in the past, each case is unique, and two different cases can take two different paths. The best way to know what to expect in your case is to discuss the matter with an experienced Fargo criminal defense lawyer. The following is a brief overview of what might happen following criminal charges.

Court Hearings

Some criminal cases will require you to appear in court several times. This includes for an arraignment, pretrial conferences, a preliminary hearing (for felony charges), and more. It is important to always arrive in plenty of time for your hearing, wear appropriate attire, and always act politely and respectfully. Your lawyer can explain what to expect from each type of court hearing and prepare you for the matter.

Discovery

Your attorney is allowed to obtain the evidence that the prosecutor plans to use against you. This is very important, as it gives your attorney the opportunity to find weaknesses and holes in the prosecutor’s case. This might include unreliable witnesses, illegally obtained evidence, mishandled evidence, unreliable lab results, questionable identifications, and more. Your lawyer can use this information to work to prevent the prosecutor from proving your charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Plea Bargaining

Many cases end in a plea bargain – also commonly called a plea deal or plea agreement. Your attorney can use the information obtained in discovery to negotiate a favorable outcome should you decide to plead guilty. You should also carefully go over all of the implications of a guilty plea with your lawyer before you choose to accept a plea bargain. This type of agreement often drops certain charges, reduces a sentence, and can help you avoid jail time if you decide to accept it.

Criminal Trial

If you choose not to plead guilty, your case will proceed to a trial, which is often a jury trial

in criminal cases. It is critical to have a defense lawyer with extensive trial experience and who knows how to defend against your charges and present a persuasive case in court. At the end of a trial, you will be found guilty or not guilty. If you are guilty, your case will proceed to sentencing. If not, your charges are dropped, and you can move on with your life.  

Contact Our Fargo Criminal Defense Lawyers for Help Today

You can often improve the outcome of your criminal case by having the right criminal defense lawyer from the very start. Contact our experienced Fargo criminal defense attorney, Tatum O’Brien, by email, or call O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss at 701-235-8000 or toll-free 877-235-8002.

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