Since every suspect of a crime may not be convicted it makes sense to explain a process that includes stages covering those convicted and acquitted. Therefore, here are basic criminal prosecution stages you should understand.
- When a crime is committed (e.g. murder, arson, manslaughter, robbery, etc) a report is made to the police or the prosecutor’s office of the state.
- Investigations on the case commence and the report of the investigation is submitted with the prosecutor.
- The issue of arrest for the suspect is made, or the police can arrest the suspect on suspicion that he committed a crime.
- After the arrest, the prosecutor can file for indictment. This is document formally charging the suspect for crime.
- The defendant or suspect is then arraigned before a court to answer to the charges filed against him. At this stage the suspect can plead guilty or not guilty. A plea bargain could be entered and a bail can be arranged at this stage. The latter may be at the discretion of the judge or jury. The suspect can have access to a defense lawyer.
- The trial takes place with the prosecutors and the defense lawyer slugging it out in the court room. The trial could be bench or jury trial.
- After completion of the trial the judge or jury reads out the final judgment.
- The suspect could be found guilty or innocent by the jury or judge. If the suspect is found guilty, he is convicted and sentenced to prison. If the suspect is innocent, he is acquitted and discharged.