Most Maryland residents obey the laws of the state, so they are unfamiliar with many of the procedures and processes of the criminal justice system. However, if someone must appear in court with their attorney to defend themselves against charges, they should familiarize themselves with the system, including the various types of courtroom personnel who they will have contact with. But what are the most common types of officials that can be found in a courtroom?
A grand jury can be a key part of the criminal justice system, even though it doesn't function like a criminal trial jury and render a verdict. Instead, a grand jury consists of people who are selected by government officials and are asked to decide whether criminal charges should be filed against a potential defendant after viewing evidence that has been collected. A grand jury usually investigates felony crimes and not common misdemeanors. A grand jury can have as many as 16 to 23 members, while a traditional criminal court jury has between six and 12.
The party went way too long, and you drank way too much. You got in your car, drove around the corner, realized you were too drunk to drive and did the right thing: You reclined your seat and went to sleep. You awakened to a loud rap on your window. It's a cop. You roll down your window and he asks if you're okay. You tell him the truth: You were too drunk to drive, so you went to sleep instead. The next thing you know, you are at the station--being booked on a DUI.
Any sexually based crime is a heinous event and can leave lifelong physical, mental and emotional scars on the victim. For this reason the state of Maryland takes allegations of this type very seriously and has developed four degrees of sexual assault charges. These can range in severity from first degree sexual assault, which are the most serious, to fourth degree charges which are the least severe. So here are some common examples of the different degrees of sexual assault charges.
Anyone who is facing criminal charges also faces the possibility of going to trial. But the criminal trial process consists of many steps and protocols that must be precisely followed before any final decision about the case is rendered. One of the most important steps in this process is the act of discovery. But what is discovery and why is it extremely important in a criminal trial?Discovery literally means finding out what both the the prosecution and the criminal defense teams intend to present during a trial in order to make their case. It is the process whereby both sides share with each other what information they have collected and intend to use during the trial. By using discovery, both sides can be fully prepared for the trial. Discovery is important because it prevents one side from using evidence that the other side may not know about and possibly be unprepared to answer or challenge.
A DUI is a very serious offense which carries severe penalties and often has lasting consequences for the person charged. If you have been charged with a DUI over the Labor Day weekend, or during any other time of year, it is important that you understand the types of penalties you will face as well as the possible associated long-term consequences. You should also understand your legal rights and how an attorney can assist in furthering those rights and defending against criminal charges.
Sometimes, individuals who are charged with a crime may receive an offer of a reduced criminal charge and punishment if they agree to plead guilty to this charge. This process is known as plea negotiation and the offer is usually arranged through the individual's criminal defense attorney and the prosecution. However, not all areas of a criminal case can be negotiated. So here is a brief look at the three main areas of a plea negotiation.