An overview of the criminal justice process and its components can help an accused individual better navigate the process. There are three primary institutions that comprise the criminal justice system including law enforcement, the court system and the corrections system. It is helpful to understand a little about what each does.
Law enforcement, of course, investigates crimes and generally gathers evidence of crimes. Based on the information and evidence provided by law enforcement, prosecutors determine how accused individuals will be charged and the court system adjudicates those charges. Plea bargaining, recently discussed in this blog, may also be involved at this stage of the process. Lastly, the accused individual may interact with corrections if they are subject to incarceration.
Because the loss of freedom is a serious consideration when criminal charges are involved, it is important for accused individuals to understand their protections and criminal defense options. It is essential to understand that there are important protections, and procedures that must be followed to ensure those protections are honored, accused individuals should be aware of at each stage of the process. A strong criminal defense response will be based on those considerations.
That is why criminal charges should never be taken lightly and criminal defense strategies and options should be fully understood to help guide the accused individual through the criminal justice system. Navigating the criminal justice process can be daunting but doing so without understanding the rights of accused individuals, and the protections afforded to them, can result in serious, and lasting, consequences for individuals who have been accused of a crime.