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What are the stages of the criminal justice process?

Just because you have been charged with a crime does not mean you are without criminal defense rights. Criminal defense rights are an important part of the criminal justice system and anyone facing criminal charges should be familiar with them. They should also be familiar with the criminal justice process. Criminal defense rights are the right of any individual charged with a crime, regardless of the crime they are accused of committing.

Because police are commonly the first point of contact for individuals accused of a crime, one of the first questions someone facing criminal allegations may wonder is if they are required to speak to the police. The answer is that you have a right not speak to the police and it may be best for you to avoid doing so. If you have been arrested, you may wonder on what basis the police can arrest you. The police can only arrest you if they have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that you committed the crime. Following an arrest, there are several important stages of the criminal justice process.

The criminal justice system can cause a high level of anxiety for individuals accused of a crime and facing criminal charges. As a result, it can be helpful to be prepared for the different stages of the process. An arraignment is the first stage in the process and bail can be requested at that time. Following an arrangement, a preliminary hearing will determine if the case should be referred on for trial. If the case is referred on for trial, plea negotiations may follow and may occur during different points along the criminal justice process. A pretrial conference and trial may follow based on how the case progresses.

Because there is so much on the line whenever an individual has been accused of a crime and is facing criminal charges, it is important to be familiar with the stages of the criminal justice process. It is also important to be familiar with the rights accused individuals have as part of the criminal justice system and know how to protect those rights which act as safeguards to protect the freedom and future of an accused individual.

Source:, "Common Criminal Law Questions," Accessed Aug. 8, 2016

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