There are various proceedings that can occur at the initial stages of a white collar criminal case. Each will be briefly discussed below:
As soon as possible after an arrest, a defendant must be presented before the nearest available magistrate judge. There can be certain consequences to violating this rule. Motions to dismiss can be considered and civil liability may develop. The defendant is not required to enter a plea at initial appearance. At initial appearance, the magistrate judge (a) informs the defendant of the charges, (b) advises the defendant of his rights and (c) determines conditions of release or detention.
If a person is arrested outside of the district where the criminal charge occurred certain special rules apply. The magistrate judge must explain the criminal charges, appoint a white collar criminal defense attorney if the defendant qualifies and set a bond or schedule a detention hearing.
If a defendant is detained at the initial appearance, the court will schedule a detention hearing to occur within a limited amount of time. At the hearing, the government must present evidence to show that the defendant is either a flight risk or a danger to the community. Both the government and the defense have an opportunity to present and cross-examine witnesses regarding the charges as well as the defendant’s background.
Before an indictment or information is filed, a defendant charged with a criminal charge is entitled to a preliminary examination to determine if there is probable cause that a criminal charge has been committed and that the defendant is the person who committed it. Unless waived by the defendant, the preliminary hearing must be conducted by a magistrate judge within a limited amount of time.