What Is An Arraignment?
An arraignment is a criminal court proceeding that takes place before the trial. If you are charged with a crime, you may receive a summons in the mail that informs you of the date of your arraignment. An arraignment is a scary prospect, especially if you are facing charges for the first time. The Morales Law Firm is here to answer the pending questions that you may have about the proceeding and can assist at the arraignment as well.
Do You Have To Attend the Arraignment?
If you are charged with a felony, which is the most serious type of crime, you are generally required to attend the arraignment. However, this may not be necessary for charges of a less serious offense like a misdemeanor or a minor infraction. Sometimes you can ask your attorney to attend in your place to represent you. As with most legal matters, there are exceptions to this rule. You may be required to attend an arraignment over misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence or domestic violence. This is where it is especially useful to seek out the assistance from an experienced and skilled domestic violence lawyer in San Francisco, CA if you or someone you know are facing a domestic violence charge.
What Happens at an Arraignment?
An arraignment is primarily an informational proceeding. This is also generally the first court proceeding that happens in a case. You will be informed of the charges you are facing and asked to enter a plea of no contest, guilty, or not guilty after having the consequences of that plea decision explained to you. You will also be informed of your rights like having the right to a lawyer, the right of questioning witnesses, and the right to be released on bail of a reasonable amount. You can make bail requests for the judge’s consideration at an arraignment, and the date of the next procedural event in your case will be scheduled, whether that be a trial or other hearings.
Do You Need a Lawyer at Your Arraignment?
It is not required that you have an attorney with you at your arraignment. You are allowed to represent yourself. However, a lawyer can do things for you at your arraignment that can be to your benefit. For example, an attorney may help you waive the arraignment, so you don’t have to go at all. He or she can request bail for you or ask the court to release you on your own recognizance, so you don’t have to sit in jail waiting for your trial. An attorney may also be able to help you resolve the case before you have to go to the arraignment.
An arraignment is a complicated process, and any mistakes could ultimately cost you your freedom. An attorney can guide you through the process and help you to avoid any costly mistakes. Reach out to the Morales Law Firm for help with your arraignment as well as any subsequent proceedings, working to protect your rights and your interests.