One thing that often worries people when facing their first criminal charge is the uncertainty of how the criminal process works. The criminal process has many steps and can be somewhat confusing for a person who has never gone through it. Additionally, it can scare people, because it is hard to know what to expect during this time. If you are facing your first charge, here are three things you should know.
Courts are typically easier on first-time offenders
Facing a first criminal charge is very different than facing a similar charge repeatedly, and the courts will most likely handle your first charge a little differently than they would if you were a repeat offender. When a court begins prosecuting your criminal charge, they will have access to your complete criminal history, and this is how they will know if this is your first criminal charge or not. Luckily, the courts are usually easier on first-time offenders than they are on repeat offenders, which means you might get a lighter sentence or punishment from this charge because it is your first.
You will likely have to attend multiple hearings
The second thing to understand is that whenever a person is charged with a crime, it will require attending multiple hearings. In other words, you should not expect to attend your first hearing and the case to be closed. While this can happen in rare cases, it is not the typical outcome of a criminal case. Instead, you will have to go to a series of hearings for the case, and each hearing will have a different purpose.
There is a good chance the court will offer you a plea bargain
The other thing you should be prepared for is for the court to offer you a plea bargain. It is standard practice for this to occur in most criminal cases, and there are reasons for it. Courts like to close cases and would often rather close a case through a plea bargain instead of dragging out a case through a trial, as a trial can take a long time. If you are offered any type of plea bargain, you have the choice of accepting it or rejecting it, but it is often in the best interest of the accused person to accept the bargain the court offers.
Knowing these things might help you feel better about your case, and they might help you understand the process of criminal charges a little better. To get help for your case, contact a criminal defense attorney today.