What is an arraignment?
There are many stages of the criminal process between an arrest and the resolution of your case. One of the first formal hearings you must attend if you are charged with a crime is called an arraignment. This is an important part of the process, as you officially learn from the court the charges against you.
An arraignment might seem like a straightforward matter but remember that nothing in the criminal process is simple. Furthermore, the criminal justice system does not favor defendants - and certainly not unrepresented defendants. If you try to appear at your arraignment without a Forsyth County criminal defense lawyer, you risk seriously damaging your defense - and your future.
What to Expect from an Arraignment
An arraignment is a crucial step in the criminal justice process. Here's what you can expect:
- Formal charges - The court will inform you of the charges against you, ensuring you understand the nature and severity of the allegations.
- Rights explanation - You'll be reminded of your constitutional rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. If you can't afford one, the court may appoint a public defender.
- Entering a plea - You'll be asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. A plea of not guilty is common, allowing your attorney time to review evidence and build a defense.
- Bail consideration - The court may address bail at this stage. It could be set, modified, or denied based on factors like flight risk or public safety concerns.
- Setting future dates - The court will schedule subsequent proceedings, such as pre-trial hearings or trial dates.
- Discovery process - The prosecution may disclose evidence they intend to use against you. Your attorney can review this information to prepare your defense.
- Courtroom etiquette - Dress appropriately and conduct yourself respectfully. If necessary, address the judge as "Your Honor" and avoid any disruptions.
- Legal language - You may encounter legal terminology. Don't hesitate to ask your attorney for clarification if needed.
Take your time in consulting with your attorney before entering a plea. It's a critical choice that can have far-reaching implications. Further, an arraignment is just the beginning of your legal journey. It's crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side to guide you through the process, protect your rights, and build a robust defense strategy. Your attorney will ensure that you understand your options and help you make informed decisions as your case progresses through the criminal justice system.
Seek Representation from a Forsyth County Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately
Never plead guilty or say anything at an arraignment without the advice of a criminal defense lawyer. At Banks, Stubbs & McFarland, we handle every court appearance, so you never have to worry about saying the wrong thing. Contact us immediately following criminal charges.