If you’ve had the good fortune not to have any run-ins with the law, you may be completely oblivious of how a criminal case is conducted other than the snippets and often misrepresentations we get from TV and movies. If you want to learn more about the criminal law system, or you are experiencing legal problems of your own, read on.
Most criminal cases start with an arrest. The person whom the police arrest is called the defendant at this point since they are still defending their innocence. The police take the defendant to jail where there are three possibilities.
The first one is to release the defendant if the prosecutor decides not to press charges. The prosecutor is typically a district attorney, or possibly a city attorney. However, if charges are being pressed, the defendant has two options. If they want to be released from jail until their trial, they can either post bail, or ask to be released without bail, on condition that they appear before the court on a certain date at a certain time. If the defendant isn’t released on bail, they must stay in jail until their trial.