sub banner image

What Are The Stages of a Criminal Case?

If you’re facing criminal charges, you’re probably wondering what you’re up against and how your case will be handled by the criminal justice process in Tennessee. If you have yet to discuss your case with our Nashville criminal defense attorney for more detailed information about your situation, here’s an overview of what you can expect after your arrest.

The Bail Hearing

The court may hold a bond or bail hearing to figure out whether the police should release you on bail or hold you in jail until the conclusion of your trial.

The Initial discussions

This is where your Nashville criminal defense attorney can have initial discussions, including plea discussions, with the prosecuting attorney about your case.

The Preliminary Hearing

This hearing is to determine if the state has reason to believe or probable cause to believe that you committed the crime you are being accused of.

The Court Decision

If the court establishes that you have indeed committed the crime, your case will move to a plea hearing. If the court establishes that you have committed a felony offense, your case will be turned over to the grand jury, which must decide whether your case should move to trial.

The Indictment

If the grand jury determines that your case should head to trial, they will return a presentment or indictment that charges you with the crime you have allegedly committed.

The Arraignment

This is your first scheduled appearance in circuit or criminal court. The indictment provided by the grand jury will be read, and you will receive a copy of it. Ideally, you should already have a Nashville criminal defense attorney working on your case at this point, advising you on how to act in court, what to say, and building your defense. Otherwise, the court will assign a random public defender to work on your case.

The Discovery

This is where the prosecution must turn over all the evidence they intend to use at a trial, and your Nashville criminal defense attorney must turn over all the evidence you intend to use at trial.

Formal Plea Bargaining

In general, the prosecution will offer you a plea agreement and will negotiate with your Nashville criminal defense attorney before the plea hearing. Plea agreements usually require the defendant to accept the prosecution’s offer and plead no contest or guilty to the charges against them so the case will not go to trial. In exchange for you pleading no contest or guilty, the prosecution might recommend a lighter sentence, reduce or dismiss some of your charges, or both. The case will move to sentencing if you accept the plea agreement or move to trial if you don’t accept it.

The Trial

This is the formal court proceeding where the prosecution presents the case to the judge and jury. They must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime you’re accused of. Your Nashville criminal defense attorney will present your defense to dispute the prosecution’s case.

The Judgment and Sentencing

If you are found guilty or accept the plea deal, the judge will decide what sentence to give you. The judge may send you to jail or prison or suspend your sentence and place you on probation.

Speak to a Skilled Nashville Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Are you being investigated, arrested, or charged with a crime? Contact our Nashville criminal defense attorney at Andrew C. Beasley, PLLC, to schedule your free case evaluation online or at 615-620-5803.

Get In Touch With Us

By checking this box you agree to receive text messages at the number provided