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Home >Survivor Support >Felony Flow Chart

Felony Flow Chart - State of Ohio

Legal Steps for Felony:

  1. Criminal Event
  2. Investigation
  3. Arrested and Booked - when an officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed by the suspect, an arrest will be made.

    A suspect is "booked" upon arriving at the police district station house. This is essentially an administrative process of acquiring identification information on the suspect, and entering it into the arrest log.

  4. Initial Arraignment - is the first court hearing for all persons charged with a criminal offense.

    The purpose is:

    • to inform defendant of the nature of charge(s) against him/her
    • to establish/identity of the accused
    • to have the bail set by the judge, and
    • to have the defendant enter a plea to the charge (for homicide a plea of NOT GUILTY must be entered)
  5. Preliminary Hearing - is held to determine "probable cause" that a crime has been committed and that the accused has committed it.
    • Bond may be re-evaluated and raised or lowered by the judge.
    • The prosecutor will present evidence and witnesses; must show probable cause for the arrest charge and for further prosecution of the defendant.
    • The defendant and the defense attorney are present; the attorney will cross examine the state's witnesses and may present the evidence of the defense witness.
    • If probable cause is determined, the case is "bound over" to the Grand Jury; if no probable cause is found, the case is dismissed.
  6. Grand Jury - again the purpose is to determine probable cause. The Grand Jury, rather than the judge, determines this;
    • The prosecutor presents "prima face" (on the face) evidence to the Grand Jury. Evidence to the contrary is disregarded at this stage. The case is presented through witness testimony and physical evidence is introduced.
    • All testimony is taken separately. Grand Jury hearings are closed to the public; witnesses called in to testify do so individually.
    • The defendant and the defense attorney are not present; only the prosecutor's side of the case is presented.
    • The Grand Jury will decide to indict (prosecute further) or to ignore (dismiss) the case. The Grand Jury reports these decisions three or four days after the hearing.
  7. Arraignment - the purpose is the same as the initial arraignments - to read the charge(s) against the defendant, to re-evaluate bond, and to have the defendant enter a plea. The defendant and the defense attorney are present, along with the prosecutor and judge.
  8. Pretrial - a hearing, usually including defense attorney, prosecutor and judge. Case is usually discussed along with the possibility of plea bargaining. Neither the defendant nor the prosecuting witness are present.
  9. Trial - final hearing to determine guilt or innocence of the accused. The defendant has the choice between a trial by jury or by judge. Both prosecution and defense may present witnesses and evidence in their behalf. The jury or the judge then determines guilt or innocence.
  10. Sentencing - oftentimes a judge will postpone sentencing until a pre-sentence investigation is done. This is a short background history of the defendant written-up by the probation department. The probation officer will evaluate the defendant's background, criminal record, employment position, family relationships and ties to the community, etc.
  11. Appeals - if the defendant is found guilty, he/she has the right to appeal the conviction.

Please contact the National POMC Headquarters for more information.

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