Why Do You Need a Lawyer For an Arraignment?
If you’re charged with a crime, you don’t go straight from arrest to the trial. There are many steps in between to protect your rights and to give you time to prepare. The first step in criminal proceedings is the arraignment. Although it can seem like a formality, it is an important part of the process.
What Happens at the Arraignment?
The Sixth Amendment requires the arraignment. At the arraignment, the charges against you are read. You cannot be held for an extended period of time by the police without being told what the crime is. In many places, this time frame is 72 hours. When you go before the judge, after the charges are read, you enter your initial plea, guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Other things that happen during arraignment:
- You are advised of your rights to have an attorney. If you need a public defender, this is where you would ask the court to have one assigned to you.
- The judge may set bail during arraignment or provide other conditions relating to your release.
- The prosecutor can file motions pertaining to your case.
- If you plead guilty, the judge can sentence you without having to wait for the trial.
- If you plead not guilty, then the judge will set dates for future proceedings to prepare for the trial.
Do You Need a Lawyer For the Arraignment?
Technically, you do not need a lawyer for the arraignment. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one. Although an arraignment is often considered administrative in nature, it is an important part of the process. Decisions that are made at arraignment often affect your case throughout the proceedings.
A lawyer can help you understand the process and protect your rights along the way. Your lawyer can help you make a good first impression on the court and on the prosecution.
The arraignment is an opportunity to get information from the prosecutor as to how serious the charges are. Having a lawyer beside you makes sure that you’re setting the groundwork for a serious defense. It can also clarify some of the facts. Your lawyer may also present information that supports your character or helps to protect your rights.
Don’t approach an arraignment as unimportant. Talk to a lawyer before your arraignment to take the best steps to get the best possible outcome in your case. Make an appointment with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in San Francisco, CA today, reach out to The Morales Law Firm for a lawyer who is going to be on your side.