If you have already been charged with a sexual offense, you may soon be facing a trial. While the pre-file stage involves investigation, reading of Miranda rights, and arrest, there are a number of additional details that come into play during the trial process. If you are facing a sex crime trial, ensure you have the best possible representation, as the process you face can be very drawn out and complex.
One of the first steps taken by the court after a person is formally charged with a sex offense is to set bail. If you are not a high risk to reoffend or to miss scheduled court appearances, the court may allow you to be released in exchange for a certain amount of money or property, which you can get back if you attend all scheduled trial dates. It is important to work with your lawyer to obtain manageable bail, and to fully understand the trial process before you speak with a bail bondsman, who will not return your money.
During your first court appearance, also known as arraignment, you will be asked to enter a plea, usually wither guilty or not guilty. By this point, you should have a firm idea of how you are going to defend against conviction, and have consulted an attorney to help you figure out the most advantageous angle to take in your case.
After arraignment, your legal counsel is entitled to all information the prosecution has on you, and every document and detail concerning your case must be turned over. Depending on the quality of this evidence, you may opt to have a preliminary exam take place, during which the court will hear the prosecutor’s case and determine if there is probable cause to carry on with the trial. During this stage, your defense attorney will be able to cross-examine witnesses and challenge evidence, just as in a regular trial.
Throughout your case and especially during this stage in between arrest and the beginning of the actual trial, extensive plea-bargaining will likely take place. This means that prosecuting attorneys and your defense will negotiate and potentially secure a reduced charge or other favorable result in exchange for a certain plea. There are a number of options for you and your attorney to consider during this stage of the Michigan trial process, and it is critical not to rush to take any particular deal offered.
If you are facing a criminal charge, you are constitutionally guaranteed a jury trial if you desire to have one. During the trial, statements will be heard from both sides while evidence will be put forward and witnesses heard. Cross examination of witnesses and effective scrutinizing of evidence are key during the trial process, as prosecutors attempt to win over the jury and prove you did indeed commit a sex crime. You will have the right to fight back against the damaging charges you face, and protect against wrongful conviction or an excessive sentence.
If a defendant is found guilty by a jury, or if he or she negotiates a plea bargain in which a plea of guilty or nolo contendre is entered, sentencing will then take place, at which point a judge will hear your final statement and decide on potential jail time, fines, sex offender registration, and other penalties. You may have the opportunity to appeal your verdict or sentence, so always speak with a lawyer before you give up on your case.
Michigan courts rarely issue a light sentence for sex offenders, and it is critical to fight back against potential conviction as soon as possible. One of the most important considerations in a sex offense trial is who to hire as your attorney, because the majority of the work during this stage is done either through statements made and evidence presented in court, or negotiations behind closed doors. As always, it is important not to act before speaking with an attorney, because it is so difficult to know what legal options are available to you and what strategy you could potentially utilize before consulting an experienced lawyer.
At our Michigan sex crime defense firm, every one of our attorneys is ranked in the National Trial Lawyers’ database of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers, and we know what it takes to defend against sex crime conviction in Michigan. Call 1-800-342-7896 now or contact us online for a free initial case consultation.