The 9 Steps

of the Criminal Justice Sustem

Step 1: Crime Occurs

A crime was committed.

Step 2: Investigation and Arrest or Citation

The suspect is either arrested when the crime was committed or he was not. If the suspect was arrested, he is read the Miranda Rights, booked, and personal information is taken by officers. If the suspect was not arrested, the police continue investigating until they find enough evidence for an arrest to take place, or they go to a judge to get a warrent for arrest to take place.

Step 3: Initial Appearance

Within the first 24 hours of the arrest, the person in custody must be taken in front of a judge. In the Initial Appearance, the proper charges are stated, an attorney is appointed, a date is set for the preliminary hearing, and the bail is set unless the judge feels that the defendant is too high of a risk to set a bail.

Step 4: Preliminary Hearing or Trial Information

Whether or not there is sufficient evidence against the defendant is decided in the Preliminary Hearing. There is a summary of the State's evidence and papers stating the formal charges.

Step 5: Arraignment and Plea

This is where the defendant pleas either guilty or not guilty. If he pleads not guilty, the trial date is set at the Arraignment.

Step 6: Discovery and Plea Negotiations

The defense attorney looks at the evidence of the case as well as the statements given by witnesses. During this time, the defendant is allowed to change a not guilty plea to a guilty plea.

Step 7: Trial

If the plea negotiations are denied, the case will go to trial in front of a judge and jury.

Steps of a Trial:

  • Opening Statements
  • State's Witnesses and Evidence
  • Defense's Witnesses and Evidence
  • Closing Arguments
  • Court's Instructions to the Jury
  • Jury's Deliberation and Verdict

Step 8: Sentencing

After the trial and verdict, the Sentencing takes place. Some charges are jail time, community service, fines, and other charges to bring justice to the case and those involved.

Step 9: Appeal

If a defendant is found guilty, they may have the right to appeal their case or some issues with their case.