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The criminal court process is divided into a number of stages. A case often begins with an arrest. An arrest is simply the exercise of police authority over a person and must be supported by probable cause. If the crime is a serious one or the person is held in custody there will be a preliminary arraignment. The purpose of a preliminary arraignment is to set bail and advise a defendant of certain rights.
The next stage in the process is the preliminary hearing. The preliminary hearing is the first chance for the accused to challenge the government’s case and have the charges reduced or dismissed.
If the government survives the preliminary hearing it will be followed by the formal arraignment. A formal arraignment simply begins the clock for filing certain motions. In most counties the district attorney and judge may not even attend the Formal arraignment. However, in Northampton County, the government will actively seek pleas at this stage.
If a motion to suppress is a viable option in the case it will be filed after the formal arraignment. If the government’s case is not destroyed by a suppression motion, the next stage in the process will most likely be trial. In the unfortunate event that a case is lost at trial, the next stage may be the appeals process.
It is very important that you have an aggressive criminal defense attorney at you side during all of these stages. Contact James Madsen at (484) 548-0529 for a free consultation.
Attorney Madsen is located in Easton, Pennsylvania and represents clients throughout the Lehigh Valley, including Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Jim Thorpe, Stroudsburg and other outlying areas