||A crime occurs.
||The police are notified and an investigation is conducted.
||If they enough evidence at that time, the police may make an
immediate arrest of a suspect or suspects.
||If the suspect or suspects are not immediately arrested or
more investigation is needed, the police will continue their
investigation, and when completed may request that a warrant be
issued for the suspect or suspects.
||If the crime is a felony offense (punishable by a term in
prison), the police must contact the State's Attorney's Office
for approval of charges after an arrest is made.
||Once a defendant is arrested, the defendant will appear in
court for a bond to be set by a Judge. The purpose of the
bond is to ensure the defendant will appear in court and to
protect the public.
||The case is assigned to a courtroom, based on the type of
charge, and an Assistant State's Attorney from the State's
Attorney's Office will be assigned to prosecute the case.
||At an initial court appearance, an arraignment of the
defendant will occur, where a Judge will inform the defendant of
the charges against them and also the defendant's rights under
the United States and Illinois Consitutions. The defendant
may have their own attorney represent them. If the
defendant is indigent, the Judge may appoint an attorney to
represent the defendant.
||The next stage requires both the Assistant State's Attorney
and the defendant's attorney to gather and review police
reports, medical evidence, laboratory reports, photographs, and
other evidence each side intends to use at trial. Each
side is to provide a copy of that evidence to the other side
||Depending upon the complexity of the case, multiple court
dates may occur. Those court dates may include hearings on
legal matters, pretrial motions to determine the admissibility
of certain evidence, and status dates.
||Once all discovery and motions are concluded, the Assistant
State's Attorney and the defendant's attorney may discuss a
possible agreed outcome to the case if the defendant were to
plead guilty. Most criminal and traffic cases are resolved
by plea negotiations, prior to a trial.
||If an agreement is not reached, the defendant may elect to
have a trial by a jury or by a Judge or the defendant may plead
guilty to the charge(s) and request the Judge to impose a
sentence allowable under the law.
||If the defendant is found guilty at a trial or enters a plea
of guilty without an agreement with the State's Attorney's
Office, the Judge will hold a sentencing hearing. At the
sentencing hearing, a pre-sentence report from Court Services
will be presented to the Judge. Both the Assistant State's
Attorney and the defendant's attorney will present evidence and
arguments as to what the appropriate sentence for the defendant
should be, based on the nature of the crime committed. A
victim impact statement, by either the victim or victim's
family, may be presented to the Judge, with the assistance of
the State's Attorney's Office.
||The Judge, after considering all the evidence, nature of the
crime, factors in aggravation and mitigation, past criminal
history of the defendant, and sentencing alternatives, will
impose a sentence authorized under the law.