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What to Expect at an Arraignment

What to Expect at an Arraignment

Criminal Arraignment

If you’re like most people, you probably know that the best time to hire a criminal defense lawyer is “as soon as possible” (i.e., when you are handcuffed and taken jail). If at all possible, do not wait until arraignment to hire an attorney.

If you are able to do so, it is extremely advantageous to hire a lawyer before the arraignment process due to two very important questions you will be asked that can drastically affect your case.

Do You Plead Innocent or Guilty?

The arraignment typically takes place in a courtroom before a judge. The first step of an arraignment is the official reading of the criminal charges filed against you. The judge will ask how you plead to the charges. Your answer to this question will have a significant effect on how the criminal case proceeds.

If you are able to hire a criminal defense lawyer prior to the arraignment, you will have a knowledgeable legal advocate on your side to advise you of the recommended course of action in your case. In addition, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor of the case before the arraignment and possibly have the case dismissed.

Legal Representation

During the arraignment, the judge will also inquire about your choice of legal representation. While it is your right to have a criminal defense lawyer appointed to your case, attempting to do so prior to the arraignment will take some extra work since this is typically handled during the arraignment process.

If you are unable to afford a lawyer, you can inform the judge and a public defender will be appointed to you. You can wait until the arraignment to declare your legal representation intentions or hire an attorney to appear with your at the arraignment.

Having legal representation in the form of a criminal defense lawyer before your arraignment may give you a much better chance at winning your case. If you have questions, or would like to discuss your options with a criminal defense lawyer today, call us at 1-800-ATTORNEY.

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