There are many offenses that can lead to criminal charges. They range from driving under the influence to the more serious crimes of drug trafficking and murder. Regardless of the charges, it is important to know the right questions to ask your criminal appeals lawyer. Often, people ask about the experience, reputation and the service fees. Though these questions are important when hiring a federal criminal attorney San Diego, there are other important questions you should ask. These questions will help understand the basics of the criminal charges.
What is a charging document?
This is the document that signifies the commencement of the criminal case. These documents include the ‘information’, complaints and indictments. The criminal appeals lawyer is familiar with these documents and will help you through the prosecution. At times, the federal criminal lawyer San Diego may give the prosecutor reason not to file charges against you.
What is a criminal complaint?
The arrest does not initiate the criminal proceedings. The case will only start after the filing of relevant documents in the court. The required documents that initiate the criminal proceedings are known as the ‘complaint’. The complaint may be criminal or civil. The civil complaints will start a lawsuit between a private party and the government whereas the criminal complaint will involve the government alone. Your criminal appeals lawyer will file the complaint on your behalf. Hire him or her as soon as you are arrested. A complaint will list the following:
- The defendant
- Alleged offenses
- Date of alleged offenses
- Description of the alleged offenses
What is the ‘information’?
This is the document that charges the defendant with a crime. The ‘information’ is used in the federal court to charge misdemeanors. This document can also be used in case of a felony where the defendant has dismissed the grand jury process. After the judge determines that there is a probable cause for the crime, the prosecution will go ahead and file the ‘information’. The ‘information’ replaces the previously filed ‘complaint’. The criminal appeals lawyer will help with this stage.
What is an indictment?
Instead of using a ‘complaint’, the prosecutors may opt for the indictment. This requires preliminary hearing in front of the judge. This will give way to the ‘information’. The use of an indictment and ‘information’ is determined by a neutral third party which may be the grand jury or the judge. Your criminal appeals lawyer will help you understand what is going on.
What is a demurrer?
The demurrer is the assertion of the defendant stating that the documents laying out charges are legally insufficient. This happens when your criminal appeals lawyer is able to prove that the documents being used to press charges against you are flawed and that they cannot be used to convict you. your criminal defense attorney San Diego will review the documents themselves and not the evidence presented in court.
As you may have noticed, the law is not as straight forward as the English language itself. Most of the terms used may mean something completely different. This is why hiring the most experienced criminal appeals lawyer is the first thing you must do when arrested.