Facing the immediate aftermath of an arrest in Georgia can be bewildering. For those who have never been arrested before, the initial exposure to the arrest process and the criminal justice system can leave them with more questions than answers. If you have been arrested in Georgia, be sure to know the basics about criminal procedure as your case moves forward.
Basic steps in a case
First, after your arrest, you will likely have the chance to post “bail” to be released from jail while your case is pending – this is a sum of money posted to the court that is intended to guarantee your attendance at all future court proceedings. Almost all criminal defendants are afforded the opportunity to post bail in Georgia – unless they are facing the most serious of charges, like a murder charge, for example.
Whether or not you post bail, the next step is usually a court date where a judge will read the charges against you, determine whether or not you can hire your own attorney and, ultimately, ask whether you plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” This step can oftentimes be combined with determining the amount of bail to be set.
From there, your case gets set for trial. The prosecution must share all evidence in the case, even evidence that might point toward your innocence. After a thorough review of the evidence in the case, most defendants make the decision as to whether to go to trial or to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement. The facts of any given case vary widely, as do the charges, so if you are facing the aftermath of an arrest be sure to get the right information about your specific circumstances.