Steve Roberts Attorney at Law

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Procedure for Defending

Of course, like all areas of law addressed on this web site, criminal defense can be a very complicated endeavor and facts and circumstances that are particular to your situation can drastically change the legal advice that you receive.

That said, in general what happens when you are arrested is you are either issued a summons to appear in Court to defend the charges and allowed to go along your way until the court date, or you are arrested on the spot and incarcerated.

If you are actually arrested and incarcerated on the spot, then you will have to have the ability to post bond to be released pending further court proceedings.

As one might imagine, depending on the severity of the crime, the bond can be set at either a low rate, high rate, or bond can be refused altogether if the Court perceives the person to be an extreme flight risk or a danger to the community.

That said, an attorney can greatly expedite the release of someone who is incarcerated. Therefore, it is recommended that the services of an attorney be retained immediately if in fact you or someone you love has been incarcerated.

Regardless of whether or not you were incarcerated, you will be given a court date for an arraignment. The arraignment date is the first court appearance that will take place (aside from a bond hearing if you are incarcerated), and upon that date the State of Louisiana will, in open court, announce formal charges against you for the crime that you have allegedly committed. At that particular time it is customary for the defendant either to plead guilty or not guilty to those charges, and if the plea is not guilty then the Court will set the matter for a status conference at a later date.

Once a plea of not guilty has been issued at arraignment, certain time limits begin to run within which the defendant must make inquiries regarding the Prosecution's case. Again, due to the structure of the criminal code of procedure and the requirement to comply with certain time limits in order to protect your rights, it is very important to retain the services of an attorney so as to make certain all of your defenses are utilized.

Once the State answers all discovery requests and the Prosecution's office has provided the defendant with information as to what evidence they have of the crime, then the attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor that has been assigned to the case.

Often, during this period of time some sort of arrangement can be agreed on between the prosecution and the defense that would minimize the impact of the criminal prosecution upon the defendant and perhaps allow the defendant to go through pretrial intervention or some other diversionary program to avoid criminal prosecution altogether and instead perform community service or undertake some other sort of acts such as paying fines, etc. in order to clear the criminal record.

If in fact no outcome can be arranged that is acceptable, the case will have to be tried and the State's burden of proof will be proving beyond a reasonable doubt every element of each criminal offense that has been levied against the accused.

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