How a Criminal Case Progresses in Kentucky
If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in Kentucky, you may be wondering what happens next. The criminal justice system can be complex and confusing, so it is important to understand the steps involved in a criminal case.
The criminal case process in Kentucky can be broken down into the following steps:
Arrest. The first step in a criminal case is an arrest. This occurs when a law enforcement officer takes a person into custody based on probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime.
Booking. Once a person has been arrested, they will be taken to a police station and booked. Booking is the process of officially recording the arrest and taking the person's fingerprints and mugshot.
Initial appearance. Within 48 hours of an arrest, the person will be brought before a judge for an initial appearance. At this hearing, the judge will advise the person of their rights and set bail.
Preliminary hearing. Within 10 days of an arrest, the person will have a preliminary hearing. This hearing is to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the person committed the crime. If the judge finds probable cause, the case will be bound over to a grand jury.
Grand jury. A grand jury is a group of citizens who decide whether there is enough evidence to charge a person with a crime. If the grand jury finds probable cause, the person will be indicted.
Arraignment. After a person has been indicted, they will be arraigned. At this hearing, the person will enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
Pretrial motions. Before trial, both the prosecution and the defense may file pretrial motions. These motions can ask the court to dismiss the charges, suppress evidence, or order other relief.
Trial. If the case does not settle, it will go to trial. At trial, each side will present its evidence and witnesses. The jury will then decide the case by finding the person guilty or not guilty.
Sentencing. If the person is found guilty, they will be sentenced by the judge. The sentence will be based on the severity of the crime and the person's criminal history.
Appeal. Either the prosecution or the defense may appeal the verdict to a higher court. The appellate court will review the record of the trial and decide whether the lower court made any errors.
The criminal case process can be complex and time-consuming. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in Kentucky, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the process and protect your rights.