When Will You Learn You're Facing Charges?
One of the scariest things for anyone to deal with is having the possibility of criminal charges hanging over their heads. Naturally, this becomes a question you may want to ask a criminal law attorney. Let's take a look at the handful of possible scenarios someone facing charges might encounter.
The police and the DA's office aren't really under any obligation to tell you whether you'll be charged or not. You might never learn because allegations against you might simply disappear due to disinterest, bureaucracy, or the statute of limitations. A charge might, for example, go before a grand jury. Eventually, the grand jury may review the case and decide there's nothing worth charging, and then the DA elects to not pursue it. In that scenario, you might never even learn that you were facing accusations of criminal conduct.
The immediate pursuit of charges usually follows from incidents where arrests or citations occur at the moment of an event. If someone gets into a fistfight, for example, the police might charge them immediately after arresting them and booking them. While the exact charges may not be told to you then and there, you'll certainly find out soon enough once you're taken for arraignment before a judge. At that point, the charging officer will have to submit an affidavit explaining what happened and why they thought it was worth the state's time to take you to court.
After You've Already been Charged with Something Else
It's not unusual for police and prosecutors to start by charging what they can. For example, a drug trafficking case might start with a possession charge. As more evidence is developed, additional charges may emerge once investigators find indications of suspicious banking activity. You might not get hit with the trafficking charge if they don't find enough drugs, but something like wire fraud isn't out the question.
Criminal investigations sometimes take a while to unfold. If the police talk with you, you might get a hint of what they're interested in. It's wise if this happens to hire a criminal defense attorney to help you sort through the jargon and to protect your rights. The cops will develop evidence against a suspect, submit it to the prosecutor's office and then a decision will be made. Regardless of how slow the wheels of justice might move, you'll get your day in court at arraignment if you're charged.
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