Omaha Misdemeanor Lawyer
1. Arraignment: The arraignment is the first court appearance in a misdemeanor case. At the arraignment the criminal complaint is reviewed for probable cause, a not guilty plea is entered and bond is set. In most instances, if the defendant has no prior criminal record or a limited criminal record, a personal recognizance bond is set and the defendant is released after signing a bond slip ordering the defendant to appear at the next scheduled court date. The court will often impose other conditions of release. For instance, in most domestic violence cases the court will issue a no-contact order between the defendant and the alleged victim. The arraignment is an important stage because it is the only opportunity to file a request for substitution of judge.
2. Pretrial Conference: Pretrial Conferences are meetings between the prosecutor and defense counsel to discuss the criminal charges. At this stage, the attorneys attempt to negotiate a resolution to the case, which may include a reduced charge or dismissal if the defendant performs certain conditions. If a resolution cannot be reached the case will either be set for a status date to further investigate the case, or for a motion and jury trial date.
3. Projected Guilty Plea: If the parties reach a resolution the defendant will enter a guilty plea before the court. The court will then set a sentencing date.
4. Motions/ Jury Trial: If the parties cannot agree on a resolution of the charges the case will proceed to motions and trial. At the motion hearing, the defense will seek to suppress the evidence or limit the admissibility of the evidence. The types of motions that may be brought include those to exclude a client’s statements which were made to the police, and suppression of physical evidence based on an illegal arrest, stop or search. If the case is not dismissed after the motion hearing, the charges will go forward to either a court or jury trial. A court trial is conducted by the judge alone. There is no jury. The same rules of evidence and standards apply, but it is only the judge who makes the determination of guilt or innocence. At a jury trial, the evidence is presented to a jury of twelve citizens who make the final determination of guilt or innocence. The jury makes factual determinations and the court makes legal rulings. In order for the State to obtain a conviction, the State must prove each and every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt and the verdict must be unanimous. If a jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, a mistrial will be declared and the State will have the option of a retrial.
- Sentencing: If the defendant is convicted, the court will sentence the defendant. Sentencing is a critical stage and cannot be taken lightly. An experienced attorney will spend a significant amount of time preparing the defendant for this hearing. At sentencing, the defendant may wish to present experts, i.e.: psychologists, psychiatrists, and/or alcohol/drug counselors, to show mitigating factors. Family members, friends and employers may testify or provide letters to show the true character of the defendant. Often times the difference between a lenient and harsh sentence is the effort put forth by the attorney to show that the defendant is remorseful and less likely to re-offend, as is demonstrated by the defense witnesses at sentencing.
Need Help With A Misdemeanor Lawsuit?
If you would like a free consultation regarding your criminal case, please contact our Omaha criminal defense lawyers to discuss your case. We have detailed knowledge of Omaha laws and can help advise on your case.
To learn more and find out how we can put our vast resources and experience to work for you contact us today at 1-877-537-4665. We have staff ready to take your call and you will be quickly connected to one of our lawyers to talk about your case in detail.
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