Generally speaking, a misdemeanor is any crime for which a person can receive up to one year in the county jail.

Case Process at a Glance

In order to familiarize yourself with the criminal justice system, please review the following sketches.
Step 5 5.
Suspect arrested and arraigned
Step 1 1.
Crime is committed.
Step 6 6.
Pretrial is held.
Step 2 2.
Crime is reported to police.
Step 7 7.
If trial, victim/witness may testify..
Step 3 3.
Police investigate.
Step 8 8.
Defendant is acquitted or convicted of crime.
Step 4 4.
Prosecutor evaluates case; warrant issued.
Step 9 9.
Defendant is sentenced.
Detailed Description of Case Process
    When the police are called to a scene and have probable cause to believe a person has committed a crime, the police file a request to the Prosecutor’s Office to review/authorize criminal charges.
    The Prosecuting Attorney or one of his Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys determines whether to charge a person with a crime, and what the charge should be.
    The defendant may come in on his/her own to the District Court for arraignment, or may be brought in by the police if arrested on the warrant. Conditions and amount of bond are determined. If the defendant pleads guilty, please see Number 6 below. If the defendant pleads not guilty or stands mute, a date will be set for his/her pretrial.
    The Court may hear motions to determine whether evidence can be used at trial, or whether there is some legal reason the defendant should not be tried. The Prosecuting Attorney and defense attorney often meet to determine whether the defendant will plead guilty to the crime as charged or to some other offense. If the defendant does not plead to an offense at this hearing, the case proceeds to trial. If the defendant pleads, the case proceeds to sentencing.
  5. TRIAL
    Trials can be by judge (bench trial) or by jury (jury trial). During the trial, the judge/jury will decide whether the defendant has committed a crime and what the crime is. A date is then scheduled for sentencing if the defendant is found guilty. If the defendant is found not guilty the process is complete.
    A pre-sentence investigation report will be prepared by the probation officer, which contains information about the crime, the defendant’s background, and a sentence recommendation. The judge will consider the information in this report, along with any victims’ impact statement that has been sent. The judge may consider different alternatives such as fines, probation, community service, a sentence to jail or prison, or any combination of these. The judge may order the defendant to make restitution to any victims who have suffered financial loss.