Many first-time defendants believe their criminal case will play out like a TV show. Yet, many cases never make it to trial. In fact, charges are often reduced or dismissed during the early stages of the criminal defense process.
How, then, does the Connecticut criminal defense system work? What can you expect to happen in your criminal defense case?
Below is an overview of the criminal defense process. To learn how your specific case may move through the process, speak with an experienced defense lawyer at Paoletti & Gusmano, Attorneys at Law, by sending an email or calling 203-371-1000.
Everyone who is arrested for a crime and held in custody, no matter how severe the crime, must appear in court the next business day after the arrest. This is called the arraignment. At arraignment, you will need to decide whether you want to plead guilty or not guilty to your criminal charges. The judge will also set your bond.
If you plead not guilty to your criminal charges, your next step in the criminal defense process will be the pretrial conference. During this time, you, your attorney and the prosecutor will discuss your case and determine whether to agree to any plea deals/plea bargains.
Motions to Dismiss a Case or Suppress Evidence
If you do not agree to a plea deal, your trial date will be set. Between the pretrial conference and trial, your attorney may bring a motion to dismiss your case or a motion to suppress evidence. The judge will review the motions and the evidence to determine whether to dismiss the case, suppress evidence the prosecutor intends to use against you, and/or continue the case.
Bench or Jury Trial
If your case goes to trial, you may have a bench trial, where the judge decides your case, or a jury trial, where your case is presented before a jury of six or 12 people.
During trial, both sides will have the chance to give opening arguments, present evidence, call witnesses to the stand, cross-examine witnesses and present closing arguments. You may or may not want to offer your own testimony. Choosing not to speak is a constitutional right and cannot be used against you.
Once closing arguments are complete, the judge will give the jury instructions on the legal issues involved in the case. The jury will then retire to a room where they will deliberate and attempt to come to an unanimous decision.
How long a trial will last depends on the amount of evidence presented and whether or not the jurors can agree on your innocence or guilt.
Finding Effective Bridgeport Criminal Defense Strategies
At Paoletti & Gusmano, Attorneys at Law, our lawyers are veteran trial attorneys with more than 50 years of combined experience. We understand the Connecticut criminal defense system and will fight to get your case dismissed, charges reduced or evidence suppressed early in the process. Where that is not possible, we are ready to take your case to trial. We care about your future and will stand by your side, every step of the way.
Contact our criminal defense attorneys to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation: 203-371-1000. You can also send us an email for a prompt reply.