EXPLANATION OF THE CRIMINAL PROCESS
NAVIGATING THE JUSTICE SYSTEM
The criminal process is something that usually begins with an arrest in
most criminal cases.
Drug crimes, however, are unlike most criminal cases in the sense that the criminal
process of these offenses generally begins before the arrest - it can
begin with an investigation. The investigation regarding a potential offense
related to any
type of illegal drug will be conducted at the local, state or federal level, as the federal
government has regulations on drug offenses as well. Even at the beginning
stages of the criminal process is it important to have an attorney at
your side; one mistake by the investigators can lead to the evidence being
thrown out and the case dismissed.
For criminal cases that begin with the arrest, an officer will need probable
cause to search your property or person. In some instances, this demands
a search warrant. In others, however, evidence may be sustained due to
a reasonable belief by the police that a person is
trafficking drugs, for example. Once arrested,
your rights (Miranda Rights) will be read to you under the Fifth Amendment and you
will be processed and booked. At this specific moment, it is your responsibility
and right to protect yourself from self-incrimination; you should remain
silent and refrain from providing any information to the officers or investigators.
After you have been booked and a complaint has been filed with the court,
an arraignment will take place.
THE MIDDLE STAGES OF THE CRIMINAL PROCESS
At the arraignment, it is in your best interest to have your attorney on
your side. If bail is an option, it will be set at this hearing, and it
may range depending on the crime committed and your potential flight risk.
Additionally, a judge may decide to charge you with even more charges
depending upon the current evidence available. For example, if you were
arrested for the
marijuana with a large amount of the illegal drug in your possession, a judge may
decide to charge you with possession with the intent to sell at the arraignment
on top of your current charges.
After the arraignment, you will then move on to the preliminary hearing
at which your attorney can present additional evidence and challenge the
validity of the arrest. During this time, your Fort Lauderdale drug crime
lawyer can contest that your Fourth or Fifth Amendment Rights were violated
due to an officer's behavior during the investigation, search and
seizure, arrest, or any part leading up to the arrest. If the judge decides
that this information is enough to declare a violation of your rights,
the charges may be dropped. If not, the case will continue to move forward.
DEFENSE FOR YOUR TRIAL
The trial portion of the criminal process begins with the selection of
a jury by both the prosecutor and the defense attorney. After this time,
witnesses will be called upon and evidence will be presented to the jury
after both sides have made their opening arguments. After much debate
between the defense and prosecution, the closing arguments will be made
and the jury must begin deliberation. In order for a conviction to be
made, the jury must find that the defendant is guilty beyond any reasonable
doubt - this decision must also be unanimous. After the decision has been
made, the defendant will have an opportunity to appeal the decision if
it results in a conviction.
If you have been charged with any type of drug crime, ranging from possession to
cultivation to distribution, you need the help of an experienced law firm on your
side for the criminal process. At Parks & Braxton, PA, our team has
over 48 years of combined experience in criminal law that applies to your
specific drug crime charges. We handle virtually all drug crime cases
and can provide you with a free consultation to learn more about your
rights. No matter what charges you are facing, you need the help of an
attorney to avoid a conviction at the end of the criminal process. We
have already successfully handled hundreds of cases, and we are ready
for yours today!