Investigation by Law Enforcement
(Reports are submitted by law enforcement, and
the County Attorney issues a summons or warrant.)
Suspect Located and/or Arrested
When the most severe charge is a FELONY
First Appearance The defendant is informed of the charges, an attorney is appointed, and a date is set for a preliminary hearing. No evidence is presented.
Preliminary Hearing The State presents evidence to establish "probable cause" that the defendant committed a felony. If the court finds sufficient evidence,
the defendant is bound over for trial; if the court does not find sufficient evidence, the defendant goes to trial for any misdemeanor charges. Subpoenas are issued for this hearing.
Arraignment This is basically another first appearance, but counsel has already been appointed. The defendant will either enter a plea of guilty and the case proceeds to sentencing, or he/she
will enter a plea of not guilty and a trial date
is set. No evidence is presented.
Trial The trial can be heard by either the Judge or a jury. In a felony case 12 jurors are called; in a misdemeanor case 6 jurors are called. All victims and witnesses may be subpoenaed to testify.
Sentencing Victims are notified of the sentencing date and encouraged to fill out a Victim Impact Statement prior to sentencing. The Judge will take the victim's comments into consideration at sentencing. Each victim has the right to address the court in person at sentencing.