How Courts Work

Steps in a Trial

Pre-trial Procedures in Criminal Cases

Pre-trial procedures in criminal cases follow the general pattern of civil cases, but with important variations.

For one thing, the process is apt to be very different depending on the severity of the crime. In general, the more important the offense, the more elaborate the process. The most serious crimes are felonies , crimes such as robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and sexual assault, for which the punishment on conviction is imprisonment at least a year, usually in a state or federal penitentiary. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes, such as simple assault, driving while intoxicated, and trespassing, for which punishment on conviction could be a term of incarceration of less than a year, usually in a local jail. Traffic infractions and petty misdemeanors include minor moving violations, parking violations and littering. They’re usually just punished by fines.

>>Diagram of How a Case Moves Through the Courts
>>Civil and Criminal Cases
>>Settling Cases
>>Pre-trial Procedures in Civil Cases
>>Jurisdiction and Venue
>>Pleadings
>>Motions
>>Discovery
>>Pre-Trial Conferences
>>Pre-trial Procedures in Criminal Cases
>>Bringing the Charge
>>Arrest Procedures
>>Pre-Trial Court Appearances in Criminal Cases
>>Bail
>>Plea Bargaining
>>Civil and Criminal Trials
>>Officers of the Court
>>The Jury Pool
>>Selecting the Jury
>>Opening Statements
>>Evidence
>>Direct Examination
>>Cross-examination
>>Motion for Directed Verdict/Dismissal
>>Presentation of Evidence by the Defense
>>Rebuttal
>>Final Motions
>>Closing Arguments
>>Instructions to the Jury
>>Mistrials
>>Jury Deliberations
>>Verdict
>>Motions after Verdict
>>Judgment
>>Sentencing
>>Appeals


How Courts Work Home | Courts and Legal Procedure | *Steps in a Trial*
The Human Side of Being a Judge | Mediation

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