U.S. Criminal Justice System
The Basic Process of Criminal Cases
Before the arraignment the state presents information at a preliminary hearing to see whether there is enough evidence showing the defendant most likely committed the crime. Then at the arraignment defendant can enter a plea of guilty or not guilty at this time. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the judge will set a trial date. If the defendant pleads guilty they will proceed with the county attorney and be sentenced.
Before the trial, the defense attorney will contact any victims or witnesses. The trial consists of a jury that hears the witnesses and evidence from both the defendant and the defense. After hearing both sides of the argument, the jury with decide amongst themselves whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. The Jury's decision is called a verdict.