What are the basic steps in a felony prosecution in the state of Illinois?

The basic steps in a felony prosecution in Illinois typically include:

  1. Arrest and Initial Processing: The suspect is arrested, fingerprinted, photographed, and their information is entered into the criminal records system.
  2. Charges Filed: After investigation, police decide whether there is probable cause to file charges. For felonies, prosecutors are usually consulted to review and approve the charges.
  3. Bond/Bail Hearing: A judge determines if the defendant is eligible for release and sets the bond amount and any conditions of release.
  4. Preliminary Hearing or Grand Jury: For felonies, the case proceeds either through a preliminary hearing before a judge or a grand jury hearing to determine if there is probable cause to formally charge the defendant.
  5. Arraignment: The defendant is formally informed of the charges and enters a plea of guilty or not guilty.
  6. Discovery and Pre-trial Motions: Evidence is exchanged between prosecution and defense. The defense may file motions challenging evidence or seeking dismissal of charges.
  7. Trial: If the case goes to trial, both sides present evidence and arguments before a judge or jury.
  8. Verdict: The judge or jury determines guilt or innocence.
  9. Sentencing: If found guilty, a separate hearing is held to determine the appropriate punishment.
  10. Appeals: After conviction, the defendant may file appeals if there were legal errors during the trial.

It’s important to note that not every case goes through all these steps, as many cases may be resolved through plea bargaining before reaching trial.