Term Paper: Criminal Justice Process

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Criminal Justice Process

A felony is a group of crimes that are commonly known as the most serious types of offenses. The major element of a felony is that being found guilty of a felony will consequence in incarceration for at least a one year period of time. In addition, the detention will be served in a prison facility rather than a county or local jail. Criminal fines may also be imposed for felony charges that range in amounts that are in the thousands. Felonies normally included serious offenses liken those of homicide, rape, arson, burglary, robbery, larceny, escaping from a prison, and assisting in a felony. A person who is found guilty in any court for committing a felony crime will then be known as a felon.

The criminal justice system is a chain of organizations and practices inside the government who are charged with maintaining social control, alleviation and discouraging criminal activities. These criminal justice facilities are also concerned with punishing people who break the laws as well as supporting treatment of convicted people. There is a particular process that is carried out when the criminal justice system dispensing justice in felony crimes at the state and federal level.

Discussion

The entire criminal justice procedure for a felony crime is made up of a sequence of stages which are linked together and reliant upon one another. The first stage is made up of the investigation of the criminal and the crime while the final stage entails release of the felon after they have undergone correctional supervision for a period of time.

Investigation

The function of a criminal investigation is to collect evidence in order to name a suspect and sustain an arrest. An investigation may include a search, an investigative evaluation of an individual or property. "Probable cause is the standard of proof required for a search. Probable cause means there are facts or apparent facts demonstrating that evidence of criminality can be found in a specific place" (the Process of Criminal Justice, 2012).

Arrest

Typically an accused person is arrested after the necessary investigations have been done in order to tie a person to a particular crime. Arrests are regularly carried out by police officers upon obtaining a warrant. Once a person is arrested they can be held in custody while they await a court hearing (the Process of Criminal Justice, 2012). When an arrest takes place the rights of a person have to be read to them at the time of their arrest. This is known as the reading of ones Miranda Rights which state that any information that is acquired throughout the arrest cannot be used against the accused if their rights were not read to them. The constitution affords another safeguard for a person in that they have the right to remain silent as anything that they say after their rights have been read to them will be used against them in the court. The constitution also affords for a criminal lawyer to be provided for those who cannot afford to hire one. The attorney will make sure that the rights of the accused are protected (Criminal Justice System Handbook, 2009).

Even though a person who has been arrested may have illegal drugs, harmful weapons or stolen property on them, the constitution guards them from undergoing uncalled for searches. People have a right to oppose any type of illegal arrest. Consequently, an officer who undergoes such a search may have the charges dismissed in the case because of the violation of the rights of one who has been arrested. This offers an occasion for one who has been arrested to dispute the arrest or search as well as its legality. "After a person has been arrested, they are booked. At this time one provides personal information such as their fingerprints and their photograph. At this point, charges may be filed against the arrestee such that they may proceed into the next stage or else they may be released if there are no charges being levied against them" (Criminal Justice System Handbook, 2009).

Arraignment in court

Prosecution entails the presentation of the case to the state attorney or judge who files a complaint against someone for the criminal activity that has been committed. The filing is typically founded on the arrest citation which includes a short statement of facts about the crime or crimes that have been committed. At this point the defendant is given a copy of the charges so that they are able to read and understand the details of what is being alleged against them (Steps in the Criminal Justice Process, n.d.). When choosing whether to charge a person with a crime, the prosecutor typically looks at a number of things such as the significance of the crimes as well as accessibility and dependability of the evidence. "Options of setting bails and application of plea-bargains are also enacted at this time such that the future of the case is dependent on the results of the prosecution stage. The magistrate or judge has to go through previous criminal records of the accused as well as carrying out thorough review of the reports and records which are presented concerning the case" (Criminal Justice Process, n.d.).

Throughout prosecution, the attorney may incorporate indictment as part of the procedure used by the grand jury to reach a conclusion on the nature of charges to be brought against a person. Nonetheless, the law forbids the defendant or their attorney to attend the indictment by the grand jury. Some feel that this is an infringement of the rights of the person as the grand jury uses Probable cause in order to come up with their charges against the person. Prosecution usually takes place within hours of one being arrested. The first step is to appear before the court so that the charges can be read to the accused. The harshness of the crime that has been committed determines whether a bail will be set for a person as an option. There is an array of bail choices available depending on the level of crime that has been committed. Bail is set so that the court is certain that the defendant will return to court for the trial. Any doubts of fleeing on the part of the defendant before trail may deny them the chance of being offered a bail. The bail or bond characteristically presents a set of conditions to the defendant that often prohibits any contact with the accused. This allows for the relatives and close friends of the person to put up the money which will allow for the release of the accused. A person who is not offered the option of bail will stay in jail until the case is heard at trial (the Criminal Justice Process, 2012).

The main purpose of the arraignment is for a person to plead guilty or not guilty so that they court can decide on the next stage. Sometimes the judge may settle on that the defendant is genuinely not guilty such that a not guilty plea is added. After the charges have been recorded and presented to the attorney and the accused, the date for the defendant's next appearance in court is set, this is for a preliminary hearing (the Criminal Justice Process, 2012).

The pre-trial stage

During the pre-trial stage, the judge in charge of the case should be well versed with the case so that they know all the essential information and evidence that has been presented regarding the case. Consequently, the case file should contain all pertinent information which is critical in figuring out the fate of the defendant. The prosecutor should also be in a position to offer particulars concerning the case. This is usually done by visiting the scene of crime in advance of the case being heard in court. Normally the accused is present in court during the pre-trial along with the jury, members of the public and other people who may be associated to the crime (Criminal Justice Process, n.d.).

A trial generally begins with the reading of opening statements by both sides. This is a general statement to both the judge and the jury about what the case is all about. The government will present their statement first followed by the defense. These opening statements are typically factual so that they can be proved true or false based on the evidence presented during the trial. "However, it is not statutory that both sides should present their statements at the same time as one group may opt to read the same at the end of the session" (Steps in a Trial, 2012).

The pre-trial stage also consists of a sequence of preliminary hearings where evidence is offered to the jury, members of the public and both sides of attorneys in order to figure out if there is enough evidence to prove that the accused is guilty of a felony. This is nevertheless; proceeded by a meeting between the two sides of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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