Criminal court cases go through methodical steps to reach a verdict:
1) the case is assigned to a federal or state court based on the type of crime
2) the defendant obtains a lawyer
3) an arraignment or bail hearing takes place where the charges are read and defendant enters a plea of guilty/not-guilty or no-contest
4) preparation for the trial takes place where the defense and prosecution gather evidence
5) the trial takes place where, in the end, a verdict is delivered and
6) an appeal may be pursued if there is a guilty verdict.
There are countless millions of criminal court cases that take place in America every year; and here are three types of criminal court cases that are, unfortunately, far too pervasive.
Domestic Violence Crimes
Domestic violence can include violent acts or violent threats and can escalate very quickly. Domestic violence prevails in every city in every state in America. Women are usually the victims associated with domestic violence, so much so that the Bureau of Justice Statistics states that 1 out of every 4 women in the United States will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Another disturbing statistic reveals that in 2 out of 3 female homicide cases, women are killed by a family member or intimate partner. Men cannot be discounted, however, since there are nearly 3 million physical assaults on men, every year, who are involved in domestic violence scenarios. Whether a case might involve people who are blood-related, married, cohabitating or have children together, domestic crimes carry immense consequences monetarily, physically, psychologically and even socially when one considers that at least 1/3 of families that are a part of New York City’s family shelter system are homeless due to domestic violence.
A few examples of activities that can be a part of domestic violence could include threats of violence, assault, stalking, protective order violations and interruption of a communication device during the time domestic violence may be taking place. Emotions run high in these types of cases and a conviction, many times, boils down to the credibility of the parties involved. Unfortunately, failure to report this type of abuse to the police for fear of reprisal, for example, and refusal to cooperate with prosecutors (not agreeing to testify against the attacker at trial) makes this type of offense one of the hardest crimes to successfully prosecute.
Controlled Substance Crimes
Again, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, drug and alcohol abuse costs the United States more than a staggering $110 BILLION each year! In federal and state criminal justice systems, most drug abuse cases originate not from the actual use of controlled substances but from possession or distribution of controlled substances including marijuana, cocaine, and anabolic steroids which stimulate muscle growth.
The legal ramifications associated with a conviction for distribution and trafficking of controlled substances can be sentences that range from 3 years in prison to life in prison. In a court of law, a district attorney must prove that the accused person knowingly and intentionally possessed a controlled substance and did not have a valid prescription for the drugs in question. As would be expected, charges for possession, alone, are typically less serious than charges for possession with the willful intent to distribute.
Burglary and Home-Invasion Crimes
A Home invasion is categorized as a type of burglary and is usually punished more severely than other types of burglaries. Burglaries can be treated as felonies though, in some cases, they are relegated as misdemeanors, depending on the offense. Depending on the potential for damage, the legal punishment for a particular burglary is dispersed, correspondingly. For example, if the crime resulted in someone becoming injured or if the intruder used a lethal weapon, the seriousness of the crime would be elevated.
Penalties for a home invasion burglary and trespass will vary by state; but in most cases where burglary is considered a felony, the act can be punishable by more than a year in prison in addition to a fine. It is not uncommon for states to impose terms of life-in-prison for armed home invasions!
Regardless of the type of burglary accusation one might be facing, hiring a good criminal defense attorney is a defendant’s only hope of obtaining the best possible (or least severe) outcome in a court of law.