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The Steps of the Criminal Justice Process

Posted by on Jan 21, 2020 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Despite the impact that criminal justice can have on our lives, very few people are familiar with the process. Everyone is familiar with the process of getting arrested, but very few people know what happens after that.

Noticing this, I decided to make a quick, easy-to-read blog post detailing the steps of the criminal justice system. To be clear, this post does not serve as legal advice, but rather as a guide that should give you an idea of what to expect. It could come in handy if you or a loved one enters the criminal justice system.

The Process

Most people enter the criminal justice system by being arrested or detained by the police. In most jurisdictions, an officer is able to arrest someone if he or she believes there is probable cause that you have committed either a felony or a misdemeanor crime. Or there may be a warrant out for your arrest. 

During your arrest, the police must inform you of your constitutional rights, such as the right to an attorney or the right to remain silent. Following your arrest, there is a certain amount of time in which you must either be charged with a crime or released. If you haven’t been charged with a crime during this time period, your lawyer can get you released by talking to the judge.

After you are arrested and charged with a crime, you will be booked. Depending on the crime, you could be released or remain in police custody until your hearing in court. At that hearing, you will be asked whether or not you wish to plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” If you choose to plead “not guilty,” the judge may decide whether or not you will be released before your trial or to stay in custody until that date. 

If you choose to plead “guilty,” there is no trial. Depending on the court, you may be sentenced at the time of your plea negotiation or sentenced at a later date. The judge may decide to release you before your sentencing if it is done at a later date.

If you do choose to plead “not guilty” and go through the trial, a variety of things could happen. You could be found guilty and sentenced or you could be found not guilty, and would then be free to exit the criminal justice system. 

What to Do

If you have been arrested, you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. As tempting as it may seem, do not attempt to represent yourself. Your life and freedom are on the line, so the best thing you should do is leave your representation up to experts. 

If you aren’t able to hire an attorney for yourself, you will have a public defender appointed to you. Remember, you have a right to an attorney, so if you are not given one, that is a denial of your constitutional rights.

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Representing Yourself in Court

Posted by on Aug 14, 2019 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Not everyone has unlimited money to dish out toward excellent legal defense when they get into run-ins with the law. Hopefully, this is not an issue that a person finds themselves confronting often — if so, stop committing crimes!

However, if you find yourself facing a fine or imprisonment because of a mistake, you might be tempted to represent yourself in a court of law. This temptation can kind of make sense — nobody knows the situation as well as yourself, the person who did or did not commit the transgression!

In this article, I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages that can be garnered from representing yourself in court without the help of an expert legal professional. And finally, I will give you my advice regarding whether to hire legal counsel. But first:


One of the problems with litigation is the amount of paperwork required in interactions with lawyers. Legal types love to document as much as possible, so it makes sense why someone in the field would want to make sure the payments are documented, requests are put to paper, and every single fact about a case is recorded.

But one advantage of representing yourself in court, especially for smaller cases such as traffic violations, for example, is that you will not have to deal with so much of the paperwork or documentation that is necessary when dealing with a lawyer for even the smaller cases!

Another instance of having something to gain from representing yourself in court is not having to pay for a lawyer. However, legal representation is almost always worth it, as I will point out later. But I suppose that this could be considered a very basic advantage.


Simply put, your chance of going to jail or receiving harsh punishments for a simple crime is astronomically higher if you represent yourself in court. There are decorum, customs, rules, processes, and concepts that you or I do not even know about because we lack a legal education.

No amount of penny-pinching is worth offending a judge or jury on accident, fumbling your words, being unaware of a legal requirement, or doing something out of custom with the law. The stakes are so high — even in “smaller cases” such as traffic violations, if you make a big enough of a misstep the judge could throw the book at you and require onerous fines — this is rare for experienced lawyers like those at Horst Law but almost a given if you try to be your own lawyer.


Being an attorney is not a game of dress-up or cosplay! While finding a lawyer can be a task and nobody wants to put on any additional costs (such as legal fees), your life or financial security could be at risk if you forgo tradition and try to defend yourself.

By weighing the advantages and disadvantages of self-representation, I hope it is clear that you need to hire an experienced and professional legal counsel for any case, big or small.

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Why is Insider Trading so Seriously Taken?

Posted by on Oct 18, 2015 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Surely, there’s not much harm that telling a secret can do, right? Well, there certainly is a lot of damage that one secret can do that could jeopardize an entire institution or government. Employees are usually made to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to protect the information that is passed down within the offices. This can be as harmless as house rules within the company lavatory to trade secrets that could ruin an entire industry overnight.

It is so seriously taken because this is a day and age where the man who holds the information is king. Rome wasn’t built in a day, no, but it could certainly be razed in just one.

So what can you do if you are suspected of colluding with insider trading? Unfortunately, if you are questioned of insider trading then the chances of you having been under heavy scrutiny and investigation for a few months is quite high, according to the website of the lawyers with Kohler Hart Powell. It is then important to remember that you have every right to exercise your constitutional rights to both remain silent and demand legal counsel before you answer to any allegations made against you.

Insider trading is a serious felony, yes, but that doesn’t mean that you have to simply accept accusations against you, especially if there is no firm evidence that is enough to warrant arrest or conviction. Government agents are quite skilled at questions that might seem mundane but could result into potentially incriminating answers, if the person they’re questioning doesn’t understand the way the process of this kind of trial works.

If you or someone you know is currently experiencing allegations of insider trading, it is then recommended that experienced and professional white collar criminal defense attorneys are contacted immediately in order to ensure a fair and just trial.

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Juvenile Crime

Posted by on Mar 29, 2015 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Juvenile crime is a class of criminal actions committed by juveniles, or those who are 18 years old and younger. Because they are considered minors, the justice system has a separate and specific set of laws that is applied to address the criminal acts that these juveniles commit. There are instances, however, where they can be tried as adults, and this would all depend on the severity of the crime.

Most crimes committed by juveniles are considered simple misdemeanors such as vandalism, petty theft, trespassing, simple assault and others. The penalties for these types of crimes may not be as heavy as serious misdemeanors or felonies – they can be incarcerated for a maximum of 12 months in local jails. Other options for misdemeanor crimes are juvenile probation, part-time imprisonment (served during the weekend), community service, and short jail terms. If a serious crime has been committed by the juvenile, the court may need to consider parental accountability.

Parental accountability are applicable in certain states, and this often refers to the putting the parents legally liable for the actions of this child according to a number of factors: (1) the parents have the legal obligation of prohibiting the child from violating the law, and (2) holding parents accountable for their child’s actions can help lower rates of juvenile crimes. There are a number of juvenile crimes that parents can be held accountable for, and with the advent of technologies, computer crimes are just the recent addition to have heavy legal consequences.

Parents who expose their children or allow them to commit drug- or alcohol-relation offences or any other delinquent acts can make them liable for the crimes the child had committed. Repeat offenders are often given harsher fines and penalties. Likewise, if a parent grants their child access to firearms and other dangerous weapons that the parents own, they can be sued. As any Collin County criminal defense lawyer will probably tell you, criminal records can lead to a more difficult adult life because it they can give many restrictions to the child and can lead to a more trouble life.

Whether the parents are charged with negligent supervision on their child or the child is charged with a crime, the best thing to do it to get a criminal lawyer (particularly someone who knows and deals with juvenile crime) to avoid harsher penalties. An experienced criminal lawyer in your state will help provide advice on the possible legal consequences that criminal charges can cause to you and your child, and make strong defense to protect your rights.

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