criminal law

Criminal Law

This is the Judicial Process in a Criminal Trial:

The Burden of Proof

In a criminal trial, the government must prove your guilt; it is not upon the defendant to prove their innocence. The government must have enough evidence to prove that you are guilty of the crime that you are being charged with. The evidence they provide must be strong enough to show that you are guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt". 

The Pretrial

Before your initial appearance in court, the assigned judge will review all aspects of your case from the arrest and post-arrest investigation reports. He will then advise you of the charges being filed against you, whether or not you should remain in jail until your trial, and decides if there is probable cause to continue with the prosecution of your case. If the judge decides to release you before your trial, you may be asked to wear a monitoring device or submit to drug testing. If this is the case, you will be expected to report to the court periodically to ensure that you will appear at trial. 

Next, you and your attorney decide to enter your plea during your arraignment. You will enter a plea of not guilty, guilty or nolo contendre. Upon your plea, the court will either offer a plea bargain or accept your plea and proceed with the trial and/or sentencing. 


If you have pleaded not guilty, your case will go to trial. In a criminal case, the pretrial discovery proceedings are limited. This protects the identity of the government informants and prevents intimidation of witnesses. During this phase, motions may be filed by your attorney such as to suppress evidence that may violate your constitutional rights. 

If you are found not guilty, you will be released. This will be the end of your case; the government is not allowed to file an appeal.

How did this happen? You are just a normal person who happened to make a mistake. Not a "criminal." It can happen to the best of us and when it does, your whole future; your job, your family life, and your freedom all come down to the outcome of this case. Where do you begin? Here. At Kevin Hickey Law, we understand that everyone makes mistakes and we know how important it is to represent you as the person you are; not the mistake that you have made. 

We will take every action, from beginning to end to ensure that your case is actually heard, loud and clear. 

Ready to Get Started?

Related Articles