Experienced Criminal Proceedings Attorney Serving the Quincy and Boston Areas
Have you been arrested? Are you currently under investigation? Keegan Law can help you.
If you are dealing with any type of criminal matter, you will have a distinct advantage if you are familiar with these proceedings. Understanding what to expect can help prepare you to do whatever you can to preserve your rights and interests when they are at risk. In this portion of our website, we have gathered basic information regarding criminal proceedings in Massachusetts. Of course, every case is different and your proceedings may vary accordingly. That is why we recommend involving a Boston criminal defense lawyer who can offer insight related to your unique case.
The following is a basic outline of criminal proceedings:
An arrest may take place if a person is suspected of committing a crime. A warrant may be issued, or in some cases law enforcement may take a suspect into custody upon witnessing an alleged criminal act. This is generally the beginning of criminal proceedings.
After a suspect is taken into custody, law enforcement will compile a report detailing the alleged offense, including such information as the events leading up to the crime, the crime itself and the information of any witnesses. The prosecution will use this information to determine whether to press charges, and if so, what type and severity of charges to pursue.
This is the defendant’s first court appearance. During the arraignment, the charges against the defendant will be read and the defendant will enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. The court will also determine the conditions of the defendant’s release, such as bail or release on own recognizance.
Prior to the actual criminal trial, which is held to determine a defendant’s guilt or innocence, various proceedings will occur. This includes pretrial motions, discovery and witness summonses. The defense and prosecution may even enter into a plea agreement at this stage. If a plea agreement is not reached, a trial date will be set by the court.
The criminal trial will involve opening and closing statements by the defense and prosecution, the presentation of evidence and the examination and cross-examination of witnesses. A jury will hear all the information presented and will then deliberate to reach a verdict.
In a criminal trial, the jury is charged with the task of reaching a unanimous verdict. The jury will decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty and for which charges, if there are multiple charges. If a defendant is found guilty, the judge will determine what sentence he or she should face. The sentence will vary depending on the severity of the crime and may include jail or prison time, fines, court-ordered counseling or rehabilitation, community service, restitution and probation.
A defendant has the right to appeal a verdict and sentence rendered in criminal court. Filing an appeal offers a defendant a second chance based on errors or legal violations made during the trial that affected its outcome.
If you are ready to learn more or to discuss your own case, please do not wait to call our Boston law offices for a confidential consultation. It is never too early to involve a criminal attorney who can advise you of what you may be up against and what steps can be taken to protect your freedom, reputation and future.
Contact Keegan Law today.