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How Do You Prepare for a Criminal Trial? Part 1
When you’re facing criminal charges, you should do everything on your part to prepare for a criminal trial. Although not all criminal cases reach the courtroom, yours has, and you should be ready for it.
There are many different stages of a criminal trial, each with its own set of specificities. It’s not easy being ready for it all. Luckily, with San Diego’s experienced criminal defense attorney at your side, the entire process should be a lot easier. But, how do you prepare for a criminal trial?
What is the essential checklist when preparing for a criminal trial?
The process of preparing for a criminal trial is vital for the success of the trial itself. You should approach it responsibly and with great dedication. It is during the period of preparations that you lay the foundations of your case.
That is why you should know all about the most essential steps of preparing for a trial. The process itself is one of several stages, and you need to take care of the vital ones first.
Hiring a lawyer
Before even thinking about doing anything else, you need to hire a criminal defense professional to help you with your case. Here’s how you should go about doing so.
- Inquiries – Try to get information on your best choices for legal representation. You can do this by either asking for referrals, or by visiting the website of the bar association in your state.
- If you are unable to afford an attorney, don’t worry, the court of law will appoint either a private defense lawyer or a public defender.
- Consultation – Once you inquire about the finest criminal defense minds in your area, it is time to make your choice, visit your attorney of choice, and attend a consultation where you will take care of all the details.
- Questions – Understand that you need to be in the loop at all times, starting from the very beginning, which is why you should ask questions from the get go. Don’t refrain from doing so, as you have every right to.
- Payment – One of the details you’re going to have to sort out with your lawyer is a plan for paying for the services. Make sure to be sincere and devise a payment plan that will work for the both of you.
- Honesty – Finally, remember to always be honest with your lawyer, and to share all the information pertinent to your case without hesitation. This is the only way for you to secure good legal representation.
Preparing the documentation
Your defense lawyer will be in charge of all the documentation related to your case. However, that’s only once he gets hold of all the necessary documentation. That is where you come in. You need to do your part and get all the documents you can to your lawyer, and promptly.
Criminal trials are complicated procedures, which is why it is always advisable to hire legal representation. Depending on the case, a trial can involve several thousand pages, and it is up to you to help your lawyer gather them all.
Be mindful that some of these documents may be extremely difficult to acquire, as they can be up to ten years old. Factor in that you might need to wait for third parties to do their part before you can get the documents yourself. A piece of advice – start gathering documents as soon as possible.
Pretrial motions and plea discussions
Once you’re all set, it’s time to participate in various pretrial motions. Take a look at all the pretrial procedures you can be part of.
- Plea offers – During pretrial, you have the possibility to discuss a plea bargain. That means that there is a chance of the defendant and the prosecutor reaching an agreement. The defendant can plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence or a reduced charge.
- Immediately get in touch with your lawyer if a prosecutor contacts you. Your lawyer is a skilled negotiator who can get a better deal for you.
However, you should always have final say in whether or not you’re going to accept the bargain.
- Entering a plea – If you decide to shoot down any potential bargain with the prosecutor, it’s time to face the court for the first time. There are three options when entering a plea – Guilty, Not Guilty, and No Contest.
- Pleading Guilty means you’re admitting the crime.
- Pleading Not Guilty means that you’re denying any involvement in the crime.
- Pleading No Contest means your neither denying nor admitting culpability.
- Attending hearings – Make sure you never miss a single pretrial hearing. Hearings range from introducing new witnesses, adding or suppressing evidence, to various “housekeeping” hearings, during which the judge makes inquiries about your case.
- Always ask that your lawyer provides you copies of all the motions filed during these hearings. Take some time to look them over, and ask your lawyers questions if anything’s unclear.
- Jury or bench – Finally, as the last of the pretrial procedures, it is up to you to decide whether you want a jury or a bench trial. You reserve the right to a jury trial if you’re facing the possibility of more than six months of incarceration.
- Benefits of jury trial include judgement of your peers, which means that not every decision rests upon the judge. However, the jury can be easily manipulated with questionable evidence and statements.
- Benefits of bench trials are that they transpire faster, and that the judge is likely to ignore inflammatory claims and prejudiced evidence. However, this still means that it is the judge who makes all the decisions.
“Where can I hire San Diego’s finest criminal defense legal representation?”
If you’re up for a criminal trial, and you have no idea where to go from there, don’t be worried or frightened – Monder Criminal Lawyer Group is here to help you through it all. We know just how difficult it must be for you, but we also know how to help you.
Vik Monder has worked long and hard to get together a team of top-notch criminal defense lawyers who will do all they can to assist you. So, if you’re ever taking a walk near the Balboa Theatre, know that we are just around the corner. Contact us to schedule a consultation today!