The criminal justice system is, unfortunately, complicated and intimidating. And too often, people misunderstand the legal processes and what they need to do when they are facing a criminal offense. The clash between the system and people’s understanding of it can create some unfortunate scenarios.
For instance, people do not always understand what happens when they get arrested in Tennessee or what will happen next.
The legal process at a glance
A lot happens between an arrest and the outcome. Though every case is different, the legal process generally looks the same for criminal cases. Broadly, first comes an arraignment, or appearing in front of a judge to hear the charges.
Then comes the determination of bail. Depending on whether a person can make bail, he or she will either spend time in jail or at home awaiting the preliminary hearing.
If the case continues, a grand jury will then determine whether it should go to trial; there may also be another arraignment. At this point, parties may negotiate a plea deal. If these discussions are not fruitful, the case goes to trial where a person faces possible conviction by judge or jury.
More than just a conviction at stake
Even if a person avoids conviction, the legal process still takes a toll on a person in many ways. It can be financially straining and damaging to a person’s family and reputation.
And, as this article discusses more fully, an arrest can still create a criminal record. In some situations, that record remains open, even though the matter has been resolved.
As a result, an employer or potential landlord can see that a person has a criminal record and decide not to hire or lease to that person. Having a criminal record can adversely affect a person’s parenting rights and push relationships beyond their breaking point, as well.
A situation only becomes more complicated when there are criminal penalties and a conviction.
With so much on the line, a person would be wise to seek legal counsel immediately after an arrest or if they fear an arrest is likely. With the guidance of an attorney, it can be easier to avoid costly missteps and minimize the consequences of a criminal record and conviction.