18 or older only · abnormalities in the vanilla world · crime and punishment · death - the new live · forensics

Long Day’s Journey into Jail

If you’re going to commit a  felony or misdemeanour, you’d better think twice until you learn about the  arduous journey ahead. Having your day in court, including if you are falsely accused (something over which you have no control, alas), is a long process. Some cases end quickly with a guilty plea and a fine, while others can also go on for decades through the appeals process.

THE ARREST

THE BOOKING PROCESS – book em’, Dano

  • Booking describes the process of an arrested person in police custody.
  • During the processing procedure, police: (1) Take a set of your fingerprints, even if they are already on file (2) Take your mug shot (smile pretty) (3) Record your personal information such as name, age, and your physical characteristics. If you’re particularly unlucky, you will be strip-searched. Ah, good times. (4) A background check to see if you have a previous criminal record. (5) Your personal property is confiscated. (6) Into a holding cell with you, knave (could be worse – could be a public stockade)

BAIL OR BOND

ARRAIGNMENT

  • your first appearance in court is the arraignment.
  • If you cannot afford legal counsel you get a duty counsel (how unfortunate).
  • If you plea not guilty, the judge sets a date for a trial or a preliminary hearing.
  • The judge holds a hearing to determine if you are guilty of the crime.
  • Some cases end quickly with a guilty plea and paying a fine, while others can go on for decades.

PLEA BARGAINING

  • In a plea bargain, the prosecution gains a conviction without the time and expense of a trial, while you may get a reduced sentence.
  • If the charge is very serious, as in first-degree murder, the prosecution can refuse to enter into any plea (you should have thought of that before you murdered the professor in the library with the candlestick…don’t you have a clue)?

PRELIMINARY HEARING

PRE-TRIAL MOTIONS

  • Pre-trial motions  address the evidence to be presented at the trial.
  • There are a wide range of issues:
    • Request a change of venue of the trial due to pre-trial publicity.
    • Challenge the search warrant.
    • Exclude evidence.
    • Exclude statements you made to the police (don’t you know enough by now to keep your mouth shut)?
    • Challenge expert testimony.
    • Dismiss the charges (on a cold day in hell, friend).

CRIMINAL TRIAL

  • A criminal trial is scheduled if you plead not guilty.
  • Jury Selection 12 jurors and two alternates are summoned to the court.
  • You don’t have to make an opening statement, or even call witnesses.
  • Jury Instructions – at the end of the trial the judge explains what legal principles are involved with the case, and outlines to the jury what findings they must make.
  • a unanimous decision is required to determine your guilt or innocence….oh to be a fly on the wall during deliberations…

SENTENCING

  • if you are found guilty, you  face punishment (if you are into bdsm, you might find this prospect exciting, you freak)
  • If the crime is a felony and you face substantial prison time, sentencing is delayed until the judge hears from the prosecution, and your lawyer.
  • Possible Punishments:

APPEALS PROCESS

  • In criminal cases, a higher court determines if a legal error occurred.
  • An appeal challenges legal errors that the judge or the prosecution may have made.
  • Very few criminal trial appeals are successful (boo-hoo).

Not only will you face any of those aforementioned nasty punishments should you decide to commit a crime, you may find yourself rotting in prison for a looong time until all of your appeals have been heard (and rejected).  Makes you think twice, doesn’t it?

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