A guide to the criminal process: Part Four

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Earlier this week, we began to break down the criminal process in Florida in order to give defendants and their loved ones a better understanding of how legal authorities in the state respond to and prosecute a criminal act.

In our last installment, we reviewed a process called plea bargaining, which – though it can take place at any point before a sentence is issued by the court – often occurs between the arraignment hearing and the trial date. However, if your Miami criminal defense attorney is unable to come to an acceptable arrangement with opposing counsel on your plea and sentence, your case will likely go to trial.

Conducting depositions

At your arraignment hearing, the judge will likely set a trial date that allows your Miami criminal defense attorney to prepare your case. During this period, which is also known as “discovery,” your legal representative – and opposing counsel – may conduct interviews or “depositions” to ascertain the basic facts of the incident under review.

Depositions are generally given under oath and may be recorded by an official court reporter, though digital recordings are becoming common as well. Both parties involved in a case may be subpoenaed to have their deposition taken. In addition to your Miami criminal defense lawyer, the prosecution will also be present when these interviews are conducted. The information given at this time will likely be referred to during your trial, particularly if a witness’s testimony in court differs substantially.

You, as the defendant, are also likely to be deposed, so it is important to consult your Miami criminal defense attorney before your testimony is committed to state record.

For guidance throughout this complex process, contact Scott A. Ferris, Esq.