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Initial Hearing—Detention Hearing:

If you were arrested this is your first appearance in Federal Court. In this hearing you will be advised of your legal rights and the charges against you. The judge will ask if you have an attorney. Should you need a court appointed attorney one will be provided. The judge will then determine whether you can be released under pretrial supervision or must be detained (stay in jail) pending the outcome of your case. If you are placed on pretrial services supervision (PTS) you must report to the Pretrial Services Officer immediately following your release. The officer will explain all conditions imposed by the court and set up a reporting procedure for you.

What Preparations Should I Make?

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Preliminary Hearing:

If you have been indicted by a grand jury, you may appear before a magistrate judge for this hearing or proceed directly to the Arraignment. The magistrate judge will determine whether the evidence presented against you is sufficient for a trial. If it is a felony charge the case will be referred to a district judge. If it is a misdemeanor charge it may be referred to the higher court or remain in the magistrate court.

What Preparations Should I Make?

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Arraignment:

After the preliminary hearing or subsequent to a Grand Jury indictment you and your attorney will proceed to this hearing at a time specified by the court. A magistrate judge will ask several questions of you; your name, whether you have received a copy of the charges or the indictment, whether you wish to have it read in open court, whether you understand the charges against you. You will be given the opportunity to ask questions yourself or through your attorney. The case will then move forward to the court of the assigned district judge.

What Preparations Should I Make?

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Out of District Case:

If the charges were brought against you in another district all other proceedings, after the initial hearing, will be held in that district. If you are released and reside in this district you will be supervised in this district by a pretrial services officer here.

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If the Case is Dismissed:

Should your case be dismissed by a judge at any time your bond will be released and you will also be released from supervision by a pretrial services officer.

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Trial:

If you continue with your right to a plea of not-guilty, a date will be set for trial in the courtroom of the district judge assigned to your case. The government will argue its case against you and your attorney will defend your claim to innocence.

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Plea of Guilty:

Even if you claimed innocence in earlier hearings it remains your right to enter a plea of guilty and give up your right to a trial. If that is your decision, in most cases you will first sign a written agreement with the U. S. Attorney and then enter a verbal plea of guilty before the judge. You will remain on pretrial services supervision if you are free. However some offenses require the judge to place you in jail at this time. Confer with your attorney on this matter.

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If Found Not Guilty:

The case will be dismissed by the judge and you are no longer subject to the conditions of pretrial supervision.

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If Found Guilty:

Pending the determination of a sentence you will remain on pretrial services supervision unless the judge determines you are to be remanded to custody.

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If There is a Mistrial:

Should some issue cause an end to your trial without a determination of guilt or non-guilt, the judge will decide whether you are to remain on pretrial supervision pending further action by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

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Presentence and Sentencing Procedures:

Whether you plead guilty or found guilty at trial the judge will order a presentence investigation and report (PSR) from the U.S. Probation Office. The PSR will contain information about your offense, your criminal history, your personal and financial history, as well as statutory and sentencing guidelines related to your case. Your behavior while on pretrial supervision will be included. You will receive a copy of the report, through your attorney. It is important that you review the report because you will have an opportunity to discuss inaccuracies with the probation investigator. During this investigation you remain under the supervision of a pretrial services officer.

Another investigation? Who does this?

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If You Are Sentenced to Probation:

Your supervision will be transferred to a probation officer. You are to report to the same office as the pretrial services officer for the transfer. The probation officer is a different person. The conditions of probation will be explained to you and regular reporting procedures will be set up.

Who will be my Probation Officer?
Is probation supervision different from pre-trial service supervision?

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If You Are Sentenced and Remanded to Custody:

You will be taken into custody by the U. S. Marshal and released from supervision by a pretrial service officer.

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If Sentenced to Custody but Allowed to self surrender:

You are still on supervision and must continue to report to your PTS officer until you surrender. Once you have been designated to a prison facility you are responsible for getting yourself to the facility on the specified date.

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