Steps in the criminal justice process The major steps in processing a criminal case are as follows: • Investigation of a crime by the police. The purpose of a criminal investigation is to gather evidence to identify a suspect and support an arrest. An investigation may require a search , an exploratory inspection of a person or property. Probable cause is the standard of proof required for a search. Probable cause means there are facts or apparent facts indicating that evidence of criminality can be found in a specific place. • Arrest of a suspect by the police. An arrest involves taking a person into custody for the purpose of holding the suspect until court. Probable cause is the legal requirement for an arrest. It means that there is a reasonable link between a specific person and a particular crime. • Prosecution of a criminal defendant by a district attorney. When deciding whether to charge
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