If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, then you have probably heard of an arraignment. But, if you do not know what an arraignment is, we are here to give you the details.
An arraignment is the first appearance you will have in court after a crime has occurred, and at the arraignment, you will plead guilty or not guilty, learn more about the charges against you, and be appointed a lawyer. You may be able to post bail, be released until your trial, or have to spend time in jail until your actual court case.
We have an overview of what happens at an arraignment, although it could vary depending on the state.
One of the things that will happen during an arraignment is you will be informed of your constitutional rights. In some states, you will have a right to an attorney, but that is not considered a state right for criminal charges in Florida. But, if you do want an attorney present, then the state cannot go forward with your arraignment until they have given you time to find an attorney.
At an arraignment, the judge will explain the charges being filed against you and must provide you with a copy of the charges. Then, once the charges have been brought against you, you can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Most criminal defense attorneys will advise you to plead not guilty. The reason for this is that it gives the prosecuting side the chance to gather evidence, which allows your attorney to look at the evidence to determine whether they have a winning case or not.
If you plead guilty and the charge is minor, like disorderly conduct, the judge may provide sentencing at the arraignment. However, for more severe crimes, the judge will set a sentencing hearing. You can also plead no contest, which means that you know the prosecutor has gathered enough evidence to prove you committed the crime, but you do not confess guilt.
In some states, the courts will allow you to be released on bail before the trial and will set conditions for your release until your trial. The requirements are based on whether you are a danger to the community, your criminal record, whether you are employed, how long you have been in the community, and whether you have failed to appear in court before this case. If you meet the conditions, you can be released before your trial appearance in some states.
It can be a scary and confusing time when you are charged with a crime, and you should not go through it alone. It is highly recommended by Stroleny Law PA that you hire an experienced and professional defense attorney to represent you in your case.