When it comes to criminal charges, understanding how cases are initiated is crucial. The legal process of how criminal cases get started involves various steps. No one knows them better than the criminal defense lawyers at Combs Waterkotte.
If you have been charged with a crime in St. Louis or elsewhere throughout Missouri, no matter how serious, give us a call right away at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online for a free, no-obligation case review. Our criminal defense team has years of experience successfully defending our clients’ rights and protecting their futures.
How Police Officers and Prosecutors Initiate Criminal Cases
Most criminal cases begin with a police arrest report. Following your arrest, the police report specifies the crime(s) that made the basis for the arrest. Be extremely careful when speaking to the police and always have a lawyer present. A criminal defense attorney at Combs Waterkotte can help.
The police report then goes to a prosecutor whose job it is to initiate cases. The prosecutor typically:
- Determines that the case should be charged and file a complaint with the court
- Decides that the case should go to a grand jury, which decides which charges to file
- Decides not to pursue the case
An arraignment is the formal presentation of the charges against you, and you must enter a plea. This is where the court – with input from the prosecutor and your defense attorney – sets a trial date and hearing dates on pretrial motions.
Unless the prosecutor presented to a grand jury, you are entitled to a preliminary hearing. This is where your Combs Waterkotte defense attorney argues against probable cause, and gets the judge to reduce or dismiss all charges.
What Your Combs Waterkotte Defense Attorney Does to Combat the Prosecution and Police Officers
At your preliminary hearing, your criminal defense lawyer will present a case to the judge and:
- Present evidence
- Work to preserve a witness’s testimony
- Possibly provide a basis for plea bargain negotiations
- Cross-examine and build a foundation to impeach the prosecutor’s witness(es)
- There is enough probable cause to show that a crime was committed
- There is enough probable cause to believe that the defendant is the person who committed that crime
While each case is unique, if you are facing criminal charges in St. Louis or throughout Missouri, hiring a defense attorney is essential. The Combs Waterkotte legal team brings expertise in criminal cases similar to yours and leads the way through the legal process. When you hire us we will:
- Protect your rights: As your St. Louis defense attorney, we ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the criminal justice process. Unlawful search and seizure, coerced confessions, or other behaviors are against the laws put in place to protect the accused.
- Investigate your criminal case: One of the jobs of a defense attorney and advantages to hiring one is to conduct an investigation to uncover evidence and facts that support your defense case. We interview witnesses, consult with experts, and review police reports, medical records and other documents related to the case.
- Navigate the legal system: The Missouri criminal justice system can be complex and confusing. A Combs Waterkotte defense attorney will help you navigate the legal system and understand the charges against you, the potential consequences of a conviction, and your options for resolving the matter.
- Build a strong defense: Our Combs Waterkotte defense attorneys have the knowledge, skills, and resources to build a strong defense on your behalf. We present a compelling case in your defense.
- Negotiate a favorable outcome: Your defense lawyer will negotiate with prosecutors to arrive at the best possible outcome for your case. The possible outcomes depend on the details of your arrest and the case the prosecutor has built against you. We may be able to convince the prosecutor to drop the case against you, negotiate a plea bargain, seek a reduction in charges or sentence, or even secure an acquittal at trial.
- Minimize the impact: A criminal conviction can significantly impact your life, both personally and professionally. With the help of a skilled and dedicated defense attorney in St. Louis, you can minimize the impact of criminal charges by way of alternative sentencing programs, probation, community service, or diversion programs at sentencing. Afterwards, if you are charged, we can help address your criminal record and connect you with resources to help you retain certain rights, find employment, and do other things that are difficult to do with a criminal record.
- Peace of mind: Dealing with the reality of criminal charges can be a scary and uncertain time. By hiring an experienced St. Louis defense attorney, you enjoy peace of mind knowing that you have an experienced professional advocating for your legal rights and standing beside you along the way.
Contact Us Now to Find Out How Criminal Cases Get Started | Combs Waterkotte
If you find yourself facing criminal charges after an arrest, getting the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer from Combs Waterkotte is essential to navigate the complexities of the legal process.