Arraignment is scary, and for many people, they have no idea what they should expect. The arraignment process is not as commonly covered through media outlets as the process of charging someone with a crime, or the sentencing process. Instead, arraignment gets pushed into the background.
The arraignment is a crucial part of the justice system, and when you’re in need of criminal defense, a simple mistake can leave you without any defense. During the arraignment, it’s possible to sign off your rights and give up on your trial. Sometimes the defendants don’t fully realize the impact of their statements until months later. Contact our Connecticut criminal defense attorneys today.
What is Arraignment?
An arraignment is your first appearance in court, which will usually happen on the next business day after your charges are processed. Typically for most business-related crimes, you should expect to receive your charges, have a few hours to prepare with your attorney, and then show up for arraignment the next day.
At an arraignment, a judge will inform you of your constitutional rights. They should thoroughly explain all of your options for a plea and the possible impact of your plea decision. However, there are many judges that are busy and need to move on to the next case, so this may be glided over, which could leave you in a bad position.
What will always happen at an arraignment is that a judge will set a bond. That bond is not necessarily bail. In fact, most of the time, a judge will release you just with the written promise that you’ll show up for all of your future court dates.
Many people confuse arraignment with the time where bail is set. Typically bail is set during the time of the arrest. The arraignment process may include a few unusual stipulations. For example, it may be necessary for you to check-in with the parole officer between the time of your arraignment and your next court date.
Why is Arraignment Necessary?
Arraignment is your opportunity to submit your plea and understand your rights. Often people will go in and simply state that they not-guilty know that they can change their position later and that it’s the safest option. But, people don’t always know the ramification of submitting a not-guilty plea just to buy time.
An arraignment is the civil right to understand your charges, to understand the possible ramifications, and then to issue a clear statement on your position within the case.
Preparing for Your First Court Date
Make sure that you appear in standard business attire. Often, looks can have a substantial role in how a judge and other attorneys will interact with you and how they will make their cursory judgments. You will also want to arrive about a half-hour early, and maybe earlier if the court still has COVID-19 security measures in place.
If you have an attorney, then you’ll need to speak with them at length about your position before your arraignment. The criminal defense attorney should explain your challenges and charges with more prowess than a judge would because they’re able to speak to you on a personal level.
What You Should Know About Entering a Plea
Entering a plea can drastically impact your upcoming couple of years. A guilty or no-contest plea might mean spending years away from your family while serving time. Or, an arranged plea could mean that you’re unable to reenter your profession or chosen field. It is possible to lose professional licenses and credentials and much more. Between not-guilty, guilty, and no-contest, you’ll need to determine with your attorney, which option is best for you.
Speaking with Your CT Criminal Attorney About Your Arraignment
Keep in mind that you will need to be there; it won’t be an option to miss your arraignment when facing criminal charges. This can seem extremely concerning given the impact of COVID-19, but courts are putting worries to rest by assuring everyone that all health and safety prevention methods are in place.
Talk to Aeton Partners about how to best prepare for your arraignment and how you might enter your plea. The decision is always yours, but a skilled and knowledgeable attorney can fully explain the possible outcomes of any of these situations. To that extent, they can be an extremely valuable resource. Then criminal attorneys can help you sort through your evidence, understand your charges and help you lay down the foundation of a strong defense.