What happens next
It was when the police car door slammed shut that the reality of your situation really started to sink in. Or, was it when you were standing at the book-in counter at the jail, and the Sheriff’s deputy completed the book-in process? No matter when it happens, reality hits like a ton of bricks at some point, and you realize, with a shock: “I am in completely uncharted waters!” This thought is closely followed by an anxious: “What is going to happen next?!?”
I want to answer that question for you as best I can, because I have come to believe that the unknown is the thing we all fear the most. So, while every case, every county, and every court are completely different, there are some very standardized procedures that you can expect, no matter where you are in the Southern Indiana criminal justice system. Whether you have been arrested, or whether you have had contact with the police and they determined to let you go home, but promised you that you would have a court date “if and when charges get filed,” you can expect that the Court will generally set the following types of hearings.
- An advice of rights hearing (if you were arrested and the charges haven’t been filed yet).
- An initial hearing (this only happens once the charges have been filed).
- A pretrial conference (this is typically just a conference between the prosecutor’s office attorney and you or your attorney). There may be multiple of these before a case moves on to get completed.
- A final pretrial conference or status conference.
- A jury trial date will be set.
Let’s go through each one of these hearings, to take the mystery out of them, so you can feel more comfortable knowing what is in store for you.
Advice of Rights Hearing
This type of hearing will only take place, if ALL of the following apply to you: (1) You have been arrested; (2) you remain in custody on the next Court session day after your arrest; and (3) the prosecutor’s office has NOT prepared and filed the formal charges against you as of the next date the Court is in session.
If ALL of those things apply to your case, then the Court will hold an advice of rights hearing, where the following things are supposed to happen:
- The Court is to inform you of the charges that the prosecutor is expected to bring against you.
- The Court is to review information, provided by the prosecutor, to determine if probable cause exists. This “information” typically comes in the form of a police report, and should be verified (meaning the author of the report has signed under the pains and penalties for perjury that the information contained in the report is true).
- If the Court determines that there IS probable cause, then the Court can require you to post a bond. If the Court cannot make this determination (because the prosecutor doesn’t provide the information, or because the Court reviews and determines there is NOT probable cause to believe you committed the offense(s) the prosecutor is alleging you committed), then the Court is required to release you on your own recognizance, but may set a date for you to return to Court to have an initial hearing.
COME BACK TO VISIT, AS I AM UPDATING THIS PAGE RIGHT NOW (Nov. 15, 2020). Thanks for visiting.