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Know the components of the criminal justice system

The criminal justice system is a very scary place for those who are facing criminal charges and aren't sure what is going to happen. Learning about the system and how it works might help make going through the process a bit easier.

There are three different groups that you might deal with while you are in the criminal justice system -- law enforcement, the court system and the corrections system. Each of these plays an important role in the criminal justice system.

Typically, your time in the criminal justice system will start with the law enforcement agency that is handling the crime you are accused of committing. This is the agency that is likely going to question you, detain you, and arrest you.

From there, you will face the court system. This is where everything from arraignment to sentencing is held. At each step in the process, your attorney should be able to let you know what is going on and what your options are for dealing with the charges against you.

If you are found guilty of a crime, you might be sentenced to incarceration or probation. Both of these fall under the corrections system. If you are incarcerated, you will head to prison or jail. If you are sentenced to supervised probation, you will have to meet with the probation officer.

Whether you are facing a simple misdemeanor or a capital level felony, you should make sure that you know what options you have as you make choices. This gives you the information you need to think about how your life now and later will be affected by each option you have.

Source: FindLaw, "How Does the Criminal Justice System Work?," accessed Sep. 30, 2016

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