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The Criminal Trial Process

The Criminal Trial Process

  1. Bail

After an arrest, the accuse will usually be entitled to police bail. This is the bail that police can grant without the accuse appearing in court before a magistrate or a judge.

  1. Where bail is refused by the police sometimes if it weekend or after court hours say like 4:30pm there is normally a standby prosecutor attached to each police station who has the authority to grant bail that falls within certain schedules.
  2. If the police and the standby prosecutor refused to grand bail for whatever reason the state and or police has 24 hours of the first court hour to take the accused to court and application for bail maybe made in court.
  3. If the state opposed bail then the matter maybe argued and the presiding officer will listen to evidence from both the state and the accuse. The obligation is normally on the accuse to show reason why he should be release on bail and he will normally promise through his legal representative that he will not interfere with ongoing investigation, intimidate witnesses.
  4. Should the court agrees with the accuse he / she will be granted bail and release with or without condition but normally with a warning to appear on the next day. The case or matter is normally not put to the accuse that an accuse is not particularly required by law to plead to the charges because at the first appearance is decides bail.
  5. Arraignment (violation and misdemeanor cases)

In violation and misdemeanor cases, the accuse first court appearance will be the arraignment. At an arraignment the accuse is formally charged and must enter a plea.

  1. Probable Cause Hearing and Indictments (felony cases)

In felony cases, the district court will schedule an arraignment to set bail and a probable cause hearing. Once the court determines that probable cause existed at the time of the arrest, the case will be bound over to the Superior Court for possible indictment and to be scheduled for a jury trial.

  1. Discovery

After arraignment, the defendant is entitled to receive all the police reports, photographs, witness statements, or any other evidence the State intends to use to prove that the defendant broke the law. This is called the discovery process.

  1. Trial

Trials in New Hampshire can take place in the District Court for violations and misdemeanors, in front of a single judge. Felony cases are always heard in Superior Court where the defendant then has the right to pick either a single judge trial, or a jury trial.

The defendant may appeal guilty decision to the South African High Court where the magistrate decision was given within 15 days and after 14 days. The High Court can overturn a conviction if an error of law was made during the trial.