Free Online Legal Resources
What These Words Mean
|Bail Guarantee of money to let a person out of jail until his trial.|
|Evidence Anything that shows what is true and what is not.|
|Innocent Doing no wrong, not guilty.|
|Jury A group of 12 people in court who decide what the facts are.|
|Preliminary Hearing A meeting in court before the trial for you, your lawyer, the prosecutor and the judge.|
|Prosecutor The lawyer for the state.|
|Violation Breaking the law.|
|Waive To give away a right.|
For What Can You Be Arrested?
Violation of a city or county law such as speeding, peace disturbance, or stealing less than $50. You can be punished by paying a fine.
When Can You Be Arrested?
What Are Your Rights After The Arrest?
A police officer must tell you he has a court order for your arrest.
What Can The Police Do To You If You Are Arrested?
Can The Police Test You For Alcohol?
Yes, if you have been driving, but the results can be used against you in court. You have the right to refuse, but your driver`s license may be taken away. Your refusal to take the test may be used as evidence against you.
What Are Your Rights In Court?
What Does Waive Your Rights Mean?
Do You Have To Stay In Jail Until Your Trial?
No, you can ask for a bail bond. You can be kept in jail a short time before your bail is set. The court decides the amount of your bail bond.
Your family or friends may help. They must show that they own enough property to meet the bail amount. This is called posting bail. If you do not come to court, their property can be taken away.
A bail bondsman can get bail for you. He does not give back the money you pay for his help. You can get names at the police station. Look in the yellow pages of the phone book under Bail Bonds. Ask police if you may sign your own bond.
When Do You Go To Court?
You may have to go to court several times. The court will tell you when to go to court.
Do You Need A Lawyer In Court?
It is best for you to have a lawyer with you. The court will ask who your lawyer is. The court will give you a chance to find a lawyer. If there is a chance that you could go to jail and cannot pay for a lawyer, the court will assign a lawyer to help you.
What Will Your Lawyer Do?
Your lawyer will learn all about the charges against you. Your lawyer will try to help you. You should try to help your lawyer all you can. Tell the lawyer all you know about your case. Tell your lawyer about your arrest. What you tell your lawyer is private. The police or the court cannot find out what you tell your lawyer.
What Happens In Court?
The court will ask if you plead guilty or not guilty. Your lawyer will tell you what your answer should be.
If you plead guilty, the court will decide your punishment.
If you plead not guilty, the court will set a date for your trial.
Can You Answer Not Guilty Even If You Are Guilty?
You are innocent until you are proven guilty. Your lawyer may think that the evidence against you is not enough to prove that you are guilty. You may have a better chance if you have a trial. You have a trial only if you plead not guilty.
What Kind Of Trial Will You Have?
You have a right to a jury trial, but you must ask for it. If you do not ask for a jury, only the judge will be at your trial. The jury decides if you are guilty or not guilty. Your lawyer can tell you if you should ask for a jury trial.
Is Court Any Different For A Felony Charge?
Yes. Before you answer guilty or not guilty, you will have a preliminary hearing, or your case will go to the grand jury.
If you have a preliminary hearing, a judge hears the evidence against you in a public courtroom. He then decides if you should be held for trial.
If your case goes to the grand jury, 12 people will hear the evidence against you in a secret meeting. They will decide if you should be held for trial.
What Happens While You Wait For Your Trial?
In most cases, you may be freed on bail until the trial, but you must come to court on your court dates before the trial.
For legal advice see your lawyer. If you need help finding a lawyer, call the Missouri Bar Lawyer Referral Service at 573/6363635.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified criminal defense lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local criminal defense attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.