What To Expect When Facing Criminal Charges

No matter what you are charged with, the general process will be the same: you will be arrested, you will be detained until you are bailed out of jail, and you will appear in court until the charges are dropped, you go to trial, or you make a plea bargain. Here’s a deeper dive into these basic steps.

What To Expect When Facing Criminal Charges

Your Arrest

When you are charged with a crime, the first thing that happens is that you will be arrested. A police officer may notice you committing acts he or she deems illegal and will arrest you straightaway, or the prosecuting attorney’s office may choose to press charges against you for alleged illegal actions and direct law enforcement to arrest you. In both cases, law enforcement will take you into custody and transport you to the local jail for detention.

Making Bail

You will remain in custody until you make bail, unless the court directs the jail to detain you without bail. In order to make bail, either you or someone else must go to a bail bonds West Chester PA company and pay a certain sum for your release. The person purchasing the bail should be prepared to provide the following information to the chosen company:

  • The location of the jail where you’re being held
  • Your charges
  • The amount needed for you to make bail, plus 10% of the cost of the bail, which will be paid to the bail bonds company

If you do not attend all your required court appearances, you or the person who bailed you out must pay the company the entire bail sum.

Appearing in Court

Whether you were bailed out or kept in custody, you will appear in court. If you aren’t eligible for a court-appointed attorney, you will need to hire one to advocate for you during the criminal process. The first hearing you must attend is your arraignment, during which the charges against you will be stated and you will enter your plea. The judge will also establish conditions for your release and inform you of your next appearance.

If you haven’t pled guilty, you will next attend an omnibus hearing where the attorneys will provide the judge with an update about how the case is going. You may plead not guilty, and the judge will determine whether there will need to be additional hearings before trial, or if you plead guilty, when you will be sentenced.

If you are charged with a crime or suspect that you will soon be charged, the process may be unclear. It’s most important to know that you will need to find a bail bonds company, hire an attorney and make at least one court appearance.