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What to Expect from Criminal Cases in New Haven

After you have been arrested for a criminal charge in New Haven, you may not be sure of what steps to take next. An experienced New Haven criminal lawyer can be your guide through the process. They can help you build a strong defense in your case, especially if they are familiar with the laws of the area in which you were arrested.

Arraignment Process in New Haven 

After an individual has been arrested, typically their first court date has to be within 14 days of the date of the arrest. That first court date is typically the arraignment and that is where the court, if a person is held on bond, will review the bond and also make a finding of probable cause if it was an on-site arrest.

Obtaining Necessary Documentation

In New Haven, once that initial court date has been handled, the first step of any criminal case is obtaining the necessary documentation.

An attorney will work with the state attorney to get the documents that they need. Those documents include the warrant, the police report, any videos, photographs, and statements, and any information that is being used or any evidence that is claimed to incriminate our client.

Release of Reports

Unfortunately, in Connecticut there is a rule of court that prevents the defense attorney from providing copies of police reports to defendants.

Although the attorney is able to go through those reports and the defendant can go to their office at any time to review the reports, they are not allowed, without explicit court permission, to release the police reports. This is a recent change in the law put up three or four years ago.

As the attorney is compiling all this information, typically, they have the defendant go into their office to go through all the alleged evidence so they know exactly what the court’s defense is.

Compiling Information

As the evidence is being compiled, the attorney is also working with the defendant in terms of their investigation. Are there witnesses that the attorney needs to speak to? Are there videos, photographs, or information that need to be analyzed?

As they are getting the information from the prosecutor, the attorney is also thinking about their investigation and defense. What do they need? Those go hand and hand. Once they are finished with obtaining the discovery in completing our investigation, they then begin to have substantive discussions with the state attorney.

Those instructions concern the case and a possible outcome. They raise legal issues of proof and lay out the case and what they are looking to do in terms of a resolution.

If someone’s defense attorney cannot work out a favorable outcome with the state attorney in Connecticut, then they move the case to what is called a judicial pretrial.

Judicial Pretrial

A judicial pretrial in New Haven is simply where a judge gets involved with the case. There are discussions between a state attorney, the judge, and the defense counsel. In this setting, they discuss the case, the allegations, and the possible dispositions.

If they are not able to work out an agreement at that time, there will be what is called a final pretrial offer. The judge makes an offer that can range from simply dropping the case to pleading guilty to misdemeanors and being on probation to pleading guilty for felonies and being in jail. It depends on every case and it is a case-by-case determination.

In any event, ultimately there will be a pretrial offer. If the attorney cannot resolve it, if it is not a favorable disposition for a crime, or if it is something that is not acceptable to the defendant, the attorney will reject that offer and put it on the trial list. At that point, the attorney begins to gear up for trial.

Preparing for Court Appearances

In terms of the details about court, typically the attorney will arrive at court around 9:00 and will ask the defendant to arrive at 9:30. The attorney meets with the defendant in advance to give them an idea of what may happen that day, what the discussions have been, and basically a status update.

They then appear in front of the court and either have the case continued or move forward with some sort of disposition in terms of filing applications for programs, entering guilty pleas, or rejecting offers and going to trial.

Typically, judges come out within the next hour or two, and usually an attorney can have the defendant our of court before noon.