What exactly is an arraignment?
An arraignment is generally the first step in the criminal process. Sometimes you’ll hear it referred to as an initial appearance. It is where you’re brought before a neutral, detached magistrate and apprised of your Constitutional rights. That is the right to remain silent and the right to have counsel of your choice, and/or counsel appointed for you.
When we talk about counsel, we’re talking about folks like me, T. Scott Jones, an attorney having represented folks for almost 30 years now throughout the Southeastern United States, when they find themselves charged in criminal matters.
Please understand that you need an attorney from the beginning of any criminal process. Trying to handle an arraignment yourself is just simply not a good idea.
What exactly is a preliminary hearing?
A preliminary hearing occurs early on in the criminal process. It’s generally the second stage of a criminal matter after the arraignment. In a preliminary hearing, the judge tests the state’s evidence: that is, the state, through the district attorney general, has to present evidence in order to meet their standard, which is probable cause.
Albeit a low standard, a skilled attorney on a number of occasions can get matters dismissed at the preliminary hearing or more importantly they can elicit information that can be used subsequently at the jury trial of the matter, in which the state has to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s important to be represented by one attorney throughout the entire criminal process, so that you have consistency and that attorney is familiar with your case from start to finish. I want to be that lawyer.
What exactly is an indictment?
An indictment is the charging instrument that comes out of the grand jury. The grand jury is 13 citizens in the state of Tennessee that meet in private. Understand that the only party that presents evidence to that grand jury is the district Attorney General, so quite frankly, they only get to hear one side of the story.
So, the indictment is the actual physical charging document that comes out of the grand jury after those 13 individuals, having only listened to the district attorney general, make a decision that there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed.
I want to be there because sometimes, the defendant is given the opportunity to present evidence to the grand jury, albeit rare; it’s important to have consistency throughout the criminal process when you find yourself charged.
My name is T. Scott Jones and I want to be your attorney. My number is 865-546-2141 or we can be reached at BanksJones.com.
T. Scott knows the importance of interacting with colleagues to stay abreast of developments and changes in the legal world. T. Scott frequently teaches CLE courses on trial strategy, teaching other lawyers his methods for success in the courtroom, and is certified as a Rule 31 Mediator in the Tennessee Supreme Court. He is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association, the National Trial Lawyers, and both the Tennessee and American Associations for Justice.
Read more about T.Scott Jones