criminal case
When you are worried because you are facing a criminal violation, it is important to understand what you may be facing and how the criminal justice system works. Even though no case is identical to another, the steps that most cases will follow are. Read on to find out what these steps are and, if you feel that you need more information, let your criminal defense attorney explain to you what will happen in your case, the defense strategies that will be used, and any other concerns you might have.

These are the five steps of a criminal case:


At this time, you may have already been arrested. You might have been taken to jail, posted bail, been released, or remain in custody. If you have been taken before a judicial commissioner you might have been arraigned and the offense you have been accused of committing should have been explained to you.

Preliminary Hearing

Your preliminary hearing will take place in front of a court judge and what happens then will depend on factors that relate directly to your case. This step is also known as a “probable cause hearing” where the judge will determine if probable cause exists that you are the person that committed the stated offense. Defendants almost never testify at this stage nor will your lawyer call upon any witnesses to testify here.

Grand Jury

In this step, the Grand Jury will hear from whoever was subpoenaed by the sheriff to the District Attorney’s office. The Grand Jury makes a determination as to whether there is probable cause to believe the crime took place and that you were the person to do it. In almost all cases, the Grand Jury returns an indictment against every individual charged with a criminal violation.

When you are indicted, this replaces the warrant in your case. And in some cases, the Grand Jury can increase the severity of the charges against you or even add new ones. You will then be notified when to appear in court.


At your arraignment in Criminal Court, the intention of the judge will be to confirm that you have been informed of what action the Grand Jury has taken in your case. You will be asked to confirm that you have sought legal representation. Your case will be set on the court’s docket.

Trial by Jury

You will have an opportunity to have a jury trial. It is only at this point that you will be presented with the time to tell your version of the facts, guided by your criminal defense attorney. The jury will be able to hear your defense and also what witnesses have to say. Through cross-examination and all the above information, the jury will hear all the facts and come up with a decision on your case. The role of your lawyer is crucial to present the strongest defense strategy and fight for your rights.

You Must Talk to an Attorney

If you have to deal with a criminal charge, it is vital that you seek advice from a seasoned, aggressive criminal defense lawyer who will guide you through the specific court procedures for your case. To guide you in the process of finding the right legal representation, visit