Criminal Defense Procedural Overview

The following is general information on the procedure of criminal cases. This information is not intended to be specific to your unique situation. For legal advice and help with your criminal charge, contact criminal defense attorneys at Stephanie Flynn Law or call (402) 325-8469.


Under some circumstances, a person may be cited and released. If arrested, the defendant will go before a judge for a determination of bail, which is the amount of money that must be posted to get out of jail. The amount of bail is based on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the severity of the crime, the defendant's criminal history, whether the person is a flight risk, and the defendant's previous history of failing to attend scheduled court dates.


Arraignment is generally a defendant's first appearance before a judge. The defendant will be informed of the charges against him or her and the possible penalties if the defendant were found guilty. An attorney may also be appointed at this hearing if the defendant is unable to afford one.

Preliminary Hearing

In felony cases, a preliminary hearing will be held, if not waived by the defendant. At a preliminary hearing the prosecutor must show that there is sufficient evidence to support the charges against the defendant so that the case may proceed to the next stage.


Sometimes a criminal defense lawyer and the prosecutor are able to negotiate a plea agreement. Sometimes the prosecutor will agree to reduce the charge or drop certain charges in exchange for the defendant’s guilty or no contest plea.


If a plea agreement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial. At trial the criminal defense attorney and the prosecutor will give opening statements, present evidence, question witnesses, and argue their case during closing statements. If the defendant is found not guilty, he or she will be free to go. If the defendant is found guilty, the case will proceed to sentencing.


Sentencing can include fines, payment of court costs and/or restitution, probation, and a jail sentence, among other possible penalties. Sometimes the sentence will be given right away, other times the sentencing is continued to another date. During sentencing, the prosecutor and defense attorney are generally given a change to make statements regarding sentencing. The defendant is often able to give their comments as well.

Contact the Lincoln criminal law lawyers at Stephanie Flynn Law, or call (402) 325-8469, to help guide you through the judicial system.