- Initial Appearance – your first appearance (sometimes called an arraignment) after being arrested typically occurs in the first few days. If you are custody you will likely appear by video and if you are out of custody you will appear in person before the judge. Your charges will be presented to you (read to you and you should be a copy of the charging document called the Information) and you will enter a plea of not guilty. If you are out of custody it is unlikely that you will receive a public defender. You will be told to get an attorney and your case will be set for preliminary hearing.
- Preliminary hearing – at this hearing you can expect to receive your sentencing recommendation from the prosecutor if you choose to accept it you can enter your plea. If you are innocent or are not inclined to take the offer you can either waive your preliminary hearing or have your hearing. If you choose to have a hearing the state has the burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence (probable cause – or more likely than not) that you committed all elements of all felonies with which you have been charged. If they fail your charged will be dismissed by the court. If they succeed your case will be bound over for district court arraignment.
- District Court Arraignment – this will be the first setting where you will appear before the district judge who will preside over your case. Many things can happen here, motions hearing are set and heard, pleas are entered, and trial can be set.
- Trial – if justice requires a trial can be had. Most jury trials occur within approximately a year of the initial charging.
- Appeal – if the trial is lost an appeal may be taken to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest court in the State for criminal matters.
The process is very similar for misdemeanor charges except that there is no preliminary hearing. Instead cases are set on the Jury Trial Sounding Docket for motion hearings and in preparation for trial.
MAULDIN & BENNETT
The above information is meant only as an overview and it oversimplifies the complexity of the process. It is important to have a Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney from the beginning to insure that your rights are protected. You need an attorney to investigate the crimes charged against you and to look for opportunities to have the charges thrown out, to zealously advocate for you in court and to help you make the right decisions at every step of the process.
The Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorneys of Mauldin & Bennett, PLLC will be there fighting for you at every stage.