If you are arrested for a drug-related crime, you are not going to just head to court to defend yourself. Whether you go through the federal system or the Ohio state system, there will be several steps before you even get to a trial.
Let's imagine you are arrested and charged under Ohio laws. Your case will go through the state courts and will follow Ohio criminal procedure. The rules of criminal procedure can be found here, but in this post, we will highlight some of the steps that come before trial.
During a preliminary hearing, you will appear in front of a judge or magistrate and be informed of the charges against you and your rights. You will also be able to make a statement if you wish, and in some cases, you may be called upon to plead.
The Grand Jury
A grand jury will be summoned to hear the prosecution's case and vote on whether there is enough evidence for indictment, or formal charges. This process, as well as juror votes, will be kept private. Warrants can then be issued.
At arraignment, you will enter a plea after the courts read the indictment or complaint. With some exceptions, you will be required to attend this hearing.
Pre-trial motions and pleadings
During this phase, there can be several defenses and objections raised. Motions can be filed for discovery, to suppress evidence and/or to dismiss defective indictments. At least seven days before a trial, you must also file and serve notice of an alibi, if applicable.
These are just a few of the steps in criminal justice system taken before you get to trial; There is also taking of depositions, discovery, and establishment of venue that must be completed as well.
What we hope readers take away from this post is an understanding that there are numerous steps between an arrest and a trial. At any point, legal complications can arise and mistakes can be made, especially when people do not have legal representation handling the case. With all this in mind, we urge anyone facing criminal drug charges to have the guidance and support of an experienced defense attorney.