Before, During and After an Arrest
Steps in Felony Arrest and Prosecution
The process starts when a law enforcement officer, investigators or prosecutors have a reasonable belief you have committed one or more crimes. An arrest may occur on the spot, or the specifics of the situation may generate a criminal investigation which leads to an arrest. If you are under investigation or have been arrested for a sex crime you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Facing local, state or federal sex crimes charges in metro Atlanta, Boston, Miami, West Palm Beach, and surrounding areas? Call Lawrence Zimmerman now at 770-970-0379.
Many arrests are made after weeks or months of detectives acquiring information that builds a compelling case. Police detectives may take years to build a case linking multiple people to child pornography, sex trafficking, and other crimes. Long term investigations are common with the Georgia Bureau of Investogations (GBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
Investigating an alleged crime continues after the arrest with serving search warrants to find physical evidence, and interviews with anyone who may have information (this includes the person arrested).
You should immediately contact a sex crimes lawyer if you have been contacted by the police or have reason to believe you are under investigation! Early attorney intervention works to your advantage.
While investigation is a typical precursor to arrest, the arrest is where the actual legal problems begin. An arrest is the beginning of legal action that must be formally managed to a point of resolution. Typical resolutions are: charges are dropped, fines, probation, jail time, and incarceration in a penitentiary.
A felony sex crimes arrest can occur through any of several ways.
- Immediate arrest after law enforcement involvement which includes reasonable suspicion or evidence of criminal conduct.
- An arrest warrant has been issued after an investigation. This often happens after an informant, witness, victim contacts police.
- An arrest warrant has been issued for victimless crimes such as failure to appear, probation violation, parole violations, etc.
- A lawbreaker voluntarily surrenders to law enforcement.
Bond and bail are effectively the same thing. They are terms for a financial commitment made on your behalf in exchange for being released from jail. Depending on the offense, you can bond out of jail in a matter of hours, post bail after a hearing where the amount is determined, or be denied the opportunity to bond out of jail.
Types of bonds in Georgia are cash bonds, property bonds and surety bonds. As your attorney we can instruct you on how to post bond in Georgia to get out of jail.
An arraignment (a.k.a. preliminary hearing, initial hearing, committal hearing) is a legal proceeding held in public court where the arrested person is formally advised of all charges of which he is accused. At this time, the accused will be requested to enter their plea to the charges (guilty, not-guilty). As part of the hearing a judge will make a decision on releasing the accused, setting or denying bail.
Leveraging an ability to file motions is a key part of a defense strategies. Motions are basically a formal way to find faults in the case (before a trial) to get charges dropped, reduced or otherwise help you. There are a number of ways to use motions to help you such as suppressing evidence, presenting flaws in the arrest process, and force the prosecution to share all information that they possess.
A jury trial is conducted in a courtroom where both sides of a case are presented before a judge and jury for the purpose of determining whether or not the accused is guilty. After a structured presentation by the prosecution and defense counsel, the jurors meet in a private room to discuss the information provided to arrive at a decision. The jury provides their decision to the judge who reads aloud the verdict in court.
If the jury returns a guilty verdict, the judge will determine the punishment according to established sentencing guidelines. The judge may consider extenuating factors for considering the degree of leniency or severity in arriving at the actual sentence.
The Appeals process allows for post-conviction review of cases for the purposes of reversing or otherwise amending the existing ruling or status. An Appeal serves to correct prosecutorial mistakes, judicial errors, and any resulting faulty sentencing. Often, an Appeal is filed to request a new trial, revised sentencing, or terminate a wrongful conviction.