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How the Case Proceeds

Misdemeanor Cases

This process begins once the case has been filed by the police and the District Attorney's Office drafts information.

Felony Cases

This process begins when the Grand Jury issues a true bill of indictment. Once the case has been indicted, the process begins. The First Appearance Setting: If on bond the person accused must appear in court. It will be determined at this setting if the defendant must hire an attorney or if they qualify for a court-appointed lawyer. If in jail, the person will be brought to the court on the jail chain. If the defendant cannot afford to hire an attorney and if a lawyer has not already been appointed for the defendant, one will be appointed at this time.

Announcement Settings

These settings allow both the defense lawyer and the assistant district attorney an opportunity to discuss the case and determine if the case will be dismissed, plea bargained (a plea bargain is a resolution of the case where both the State and the defendant agree to a certain punishment without involving either a judge or jury) or set for a jury or bench trial. (A bench trial is a trial to a judge without a jury.) Generally a case may be set for announcement two to three times. A person on the bond may be required to appear in court every time the case is set on the court's docket, regardless of the type of setting and regardless of whether that person's attorney must also appear. If the person is in jail, he or she will not be automatically brought to court.

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