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Criminal Defense Process

Understanding the Criminal Defense Process

Criminal Defense Representation in Peoria: Call (309) 948-5908

After an arrest, many people are unaware of what to do next or where to turn for help. At McCall Law Offices, P.C., we aim to bring the best possible resolution to our clients' criminal cases by guiding them throughout the criminal process and working to aggressively defend them. The criminal process can be stressful, but with the guidance of a Peoria criminal defense attorney, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands.

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When you work with McCall Law Offices, P.C., we will help you determine the best course of legal action to take depending upon your particular situation and prior criminal record. Whether a plea bargain should be entered or you should enter a plea of no contest, our team will defend you and your rights throughout the criminal defense process. Although each case is unique, most individuals facing charges can expect their criminal case to go through the following stages:

  1. Arrest
  2. DMV Hearing (for DUI charges)
  3. Arraignment
  4. Pre-Trial Conference
  5. Felony Preliminary Hearings
  6. Possible Plea Bargain
  7. Criminal Trial

Depending on the results, there may also be a sentencing phase or even an appeals process.

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1. Arrest 
The first step in the criminal process is the initial contact that you will have with law enforcement. The arrest is the beginning of it all, and how you conduct yourself may affect the overall outcome of your case. It is important to remember to exercise your right to remain silent and your right to consult an attorney. We encourage you to act cordially with the arresting officer but do not answer questions without speaking with a lawyer first.

2. DMV Hearing (for DUI charges) 
If you were charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you will have 10 days to schedule a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This is a separate hearing from your criminal trial but it is still important, so you should obtain an attorney prior to this hearing. A lawyer can help defend your driving privileges and even attend the hearing on your behalf.

3. Arraignment 
At an arraignment, you and the attorney working on your case will appear before a judge. This preliminary process will establish that you are aware of the charges brought against you and that you are aware of the possible penalties that you may be facing. In this hearing, you will also learn if you are eligible for bail. If you are eligible, bail will be set.

4. Pre-Trial Conference 
At this conference, you and your attorney will meet directly with the prosecutor to discuss possible plea bargains for your case. Your attorney will determine the best course of legal action to take.

5. Felony Preliminary Hearings 
If you are charged with a felony, you will be required to attend a preliminary hearing. This hearing is to help the judge determine whether there is enough legally obtained evidence to charge you with a felony crime. If it is found that there is enough evidence, your case will move to an upper court for trial; if not, you may have your charged reduced or dismissed.

6. Possible Plea Bargain 
If a plea bargain is the best choice for you and your situation, you will accept the plea bargain at your trial. These negotiated agreements help you avoid serious penalties such as jail time and prison and may allow you the opportunity to serve your sentence under house arrest or probation.

7. Criminal Trial 
If a defendant does not agree to a plea bargain, the case will go to trial. At a criminal trial, your case will be presented in front of a jury and judge. Each side will be allowed to make statements based on their findings and produce evidence to support their cases. These trials may last anywhere from a few days to several months or even up to a year.

Sentencing: If you are found guilty of your charges, you will be sentenced to punishment in the form of incarceration, fines, probation, or a combination of penalties. The serving of these penalties will begin almost immediately. If you do not agree with the outcome of the case, you may be able to contest the penalties or file an appeal with help of an attorney.

Representation After an Arrest

Were you arrested? Now is the time to contact McCall Law Offices, P.C. and retain trusted legal representation. With over 10 years of legal experience, you can rest assured that your case will be in good hands. Contact a Peoria criminal defense lawyer from our firm today to get started and see how working with our team can greatly benefit the outcome of your trial.

Get a former prosecutor on your side: Call (309) 948-5908 for your FREE case review!

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