When the accused turns to Simon A. Kubiak, Attorneys At Law, PC, for criminal defense, one of the first questions they have is, What happens next? Our Albuquerque criminal defense lawyers understand that the not knowing that comes with criminal proceedings can be terrifying. From the moment a person turns to us, we strive to assuage any fear or concerns by educating them on New Mexico’s criminal prosecution process.
The initiation of criminal proceedings in New Mexico looks different depending on the type of charges a person faces. For instance, the criminal process for misdemeanor charges typically begins with an arrest. Felony criminal proceedings, however, usually begin with the filing of a complaint in the magistrate (metro) court. An arrest is not necessary to begin felony criminal proceedings. Regardless of the type of crime, the prosecution must show that a crime occurred and that there is substantial reason to believe the defendant committed it.
After the criminal proceedings have begun, the courts will request the defendant’s appearance. This first appearance is called the “arraignment” and typically entails the judge informing the defendant of the charges, setting the conditions of bail and, if necessary, appointing an attorney. The defendant will also have the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty.
During this stage, both the defense and prosecution will conduct investigations, exchange applicable information and interview witnesses. Either party has the option to file pretrial motions to prevent the admittance of evidence or to have the charges dropped. The defense and prosecution will also work together to resolve the matter outside of court and to come to a plea agreement.
If the opposing parties cannot come to a resolution during pre-trial negotiations, the defendant has the right to a trial by jury. If it comes to this, the prosecution and defense will select a jury and present their cases in court. The length of a trial depends on the nature of the offense for which a person stands accused. Once both parties have presented their cases, the jury will deliberate and return a verdict.
If the jury returns a guilty verdict, the judge must deliver a sentence. Misdemeanor crimes come with fines and a maximum jail sentence of one year. Jail time for felony crimes, however, are typically far longer than one year, and can range from one year to life.
If a defendant is dissatisfied with the outcome of the case, he or she has the right to appeal the decision. However, he or she must file an appeal within 30 days of the courts entering the final judgment.
Why Work With a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you face criminal charges, it is vital that you retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The right attorney can fight for the most favorable outcome at the onset of your case, and even secure dismissed charges during the initiation phase. For a swift and favorable resolution to your case, call Simon A. Kubiak, Attorneys At Law, PC, at (505) 998-6600 to begin building your defense today.