At the time of your arrest, you will be given a date for an arraignment. An Arraignment is where the Court explains the charges, and where you are represented by an attorney, some District Courts will waive this hearing, thinking that your attorney will explain things to you. Arraignment is also the hearing where the Court makes decisions about bond, and conditions of bond.
The next hearing is called a “Pre-Trial”, which is when quite a few matters are resolved, by means of discussions between the Prosecutor and me, acting on your behalf.
By the time the pre-trial happens, I have typically requested a copy of the Prosecutor’s file, along with any “dash-cam” video/audio from the police car.
If the pre-trial does not resolve the matter, the courts will often adjourn the matter, to allow for the filing of Motions to suppress evidence, or to dismiss the case entirely.
If the pre-trials and Motions do not resolve the case, the matter moves to trial
Cases are normally tried to a jury, although sometimes judges decide cases. If you are acquitted, the matter is over, and any bond you have posted, is refunded to you. If you are convicted, you will have to report to the Court’s probation department for a screening and assessment, and for their sentencing recommendation.
Sentencing is, of course, where the court imposes sentence.
NOTE: Your conduct starting from the time of arrest, until the time of sentencing, is scrutinized very closely. We have an opportunity, starting on the day of your arrest, to start influencing the sentencing decision. Where sentencing is likely, due to guilt, or if we decide to negotiate a plea, ask Jon Frank how we can influence the judge’s ultimate sentencing decision.