Criminal Defense Process in Honolulu
Honolulu Criminal Attorney Describes What to Expect
After you are charged with a criminal offense, you may feel afraid, confused, and alone. Depending on several factors, such as the nature of the offense and how many previous criminal offenses you have, you may be facing heavy fines and a long imprisonment. In addition, you could end up with a permanent mark on your criminal record, which can damage your future. For that reason, it is imperative that you know the criminal defense process so you can protect yourself prior to hiring an attorney. It is essential to take the right approach to your case, and if you hire the Law Offices of Steve Cedillos, I can ensure that you will be confident with the plan of action I created for you and your criminal case. As a Honolulu criminal defense attorney, I can also help you represent and assist you throughout the development of your case. If you would like to schedule an appointment with me, please contact my firm.
Arraignment and Plea Hearings in Honolulu
When you are charged with a crime, the State of Hawaii must present evidence that will lead a judge or jury to believe that you actually committed a crime. The first appearance you must make in court is for the arraignment and plea. During an arraignment and plea, you are informed of your criminal charges, and you may also make a plea bargain. When I am hired to represent you, I will enter a "not guilty" plea on your behalf, if that is what we have discussed prior to the hearing. The court must then give you a pre-trial and trial date prior to ending the arraignment and plea hearing. If you are in custody during the arraignment and plea, I can help you request bail, and the court may also decide to set a bail hearing.
Discovery and Development of the Defense
Once the arraignment and plea hearing has concluded, I will request all police reports and other documents related to your criminal case. If necessary, I can also ask for a grand jury transcript or preliminary hearing transcript, as well. With these documents, I can help you determine the best course of action for your case. Although this is an incredibly time consuming event, it is important for me to build the strongest case possible. This way, your criminal charges may be minimized or completely eliminated. A pre-trial conference is the next step of the criminal defense process. This is when the court determines the status of any plea negotiations, as well as to discuss if more time is needed to prepare for your trial.
If Your Case Goes to Trial
A trial is set if your case cannot be resolved during plea negotiations. During this trial, the State of Hawaii must prove that you are guilty, and if they cannot provide enough evidence that proves you are guilty, you will be found not guilty and charges will be dropped. It is my job to challenge all evidence that is brought against you during your case, and I will do everything in my power to prevent you from facing fines and/or jail time. There are two types of trials-a "bench trial" and a jury trial. During a bench trial, the judge must determine if the state can prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. In a jury trial, twelve Honolulu residents are selected to serve as jurors, and they must decide if there is enough reasonable evidence to find you guilty or not guilty.
Contact a Honolulu Criminal Defense Attorney to Learn More
It is very important to understand the defense process and to what expect in your specific case. If you are under suspicion of having committed a crime, then you are in a very frightening circumstance. Even if you are partially guilty of the crime, you will still need legal advice and outstanding legal counsel to ensure that your situation does not become any more serious than it already is. It is never wise to "pour your heart out" to a member of law enforcement, especially without a lawyer by your side. They can and will use anything you say against you in a court of law. It is essential that you take the right steps throughout this process, because your future is at stake. Contact my firm today for further assistance and guidance with your situation!