Frequently Asked Questions

Types of Criminal Cases

For Adults and Juveniles criminal charges are classified as either Felony or Misdemeanor:

  1. Felony crimes have the potential for extremely serious consequences including prison, probation, significant fines, fees and assessments and the loss of certain constitutional rights.
  2. Misdemeanor offenses also have significant consequences that could include jail time, fines and fees, probation and the loss of certain constitutional rights.
  3. Probation violation allegations occur after you have been adjudicated of a crime and have allegedly violated a term or condition of your supervised, unsupervised or monitored probation. These proceedings can have very serious consequences including prison or jail.

Felony Case Stages

  1. Arrest/Complaint/Indictment
  2. Jail
  3. Initial Appearance
  4. Grand Jury/Preliminary Hearing
  5. Arraignment
  6. Pretrial Conference
  7. Trial/Plea Agreement
  8. Presentence Report
  9. Sentencing

*Appeal/Post Conviction Relief

Types of Release Conditions

There are several types of conditions of release that the Court could order and the type of release depends upon the charges you are facing and various statutory factors that a judge will evaluate to determine:  a) the likelihood you will return to court for future proceedings, and b) risk to victims, witnesses and the community.

  1. No Bond 
  2. Bond: Cash or Paper
  3. Third Party Release
  4. Pretrial Services
  5. Electronic Monitoring
  6. Own Recognizance

Grand Jury/Preliminary Hearing

Once a felony complaint is charged, the State must establish that there is sufficient "probable cause"  (PC) that a crime occurred and that the person identified in the complaint committed the crime(s).

Both the Grand Jury and Preliminary Hearing serve the same purpose. Generally, grand jury proceedings are held in "secret" meaning that typically just the prosecutor, case officer, and grand jurors are present when testimony is offered to establish PC. (Although there can be an opportunity for a charged person to present testimony at the grand jury).

A preliminary hearing is a adversarial proceeding where the charged person and their attorney are present and can challenge the State's witnesses or evidence. 

Trial: Jury or Bench

Everyone charged with a felony charge has the constitutional right to a jury trial. A jury is composed of citizens from the community who evaluate the testimony and evidence to determine if the State has proven the defendant guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt." 

The jury must be unanimous in their decision, if they cannot agree the judge will declare a mistrial, if that happens the State may refile the charges against you.

In a bench trial, the judge is the only person to evaluate all the testimony and evidence and decides if the defendant guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt." If the judge decides that the State has NOT proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt, you are "acquitted."  


If you have been found guilty following a jury or bench trial or if you entered a plea agreement, you will receive a punishment for the offenses you committed. In misdemeanor cases, you can often be sentenced the same day you enter a plea or obtain a jury verdict. Typically, the judge will sentence you in approximately 30-45 days after the verdict. At the sentencing hearing all the parties have a chance give the judge their recommendations for the punishment and you have the right to speak to the judge.