After you are arrested, the next step is an arraignment. An arraignment hearing is a legal procedure that establishes the charges against you among other things. It is your Constitutional right to a speedy trial, so the arraignment typically occurs quickly after the arrest. Here’s what you need to know about your arraignment and how to get legal assistance as soon as possible.
You Are Advised of the Charges Against You
First, you will be informed of the charges against you. This may include additional charges that law enforcement discovered they can levy against you after obtaining more evidence, such as from an interview you gave or after searching for your personal property.
You Are Asked to Enter a Plea
Once the charges against you have been explained and you confirm that you understand them, you will be asked to enter a plea. You can plead not guilty, guilty, or no contest. The result of your case — and the penalties if you are convicted — can be greatly impacted by how you plead at the arraignment.
The Judge Will Set Your Bail
If you are eligible for bail, the judge presiding over your case will set it at this time. Certain crimes are not eligible for bail and whether or not you are denied bail is up to the judge. How much your bail is depends on multiple factors, such as your flight risk, the severity of the charges you’re facing, and if you have a lawyer with you to help you negotiate a lower bail amount.
The Date and Time of Your Next Hearing Will Be Determined
After you plead and your bail is set, you’ll be informed of the date and time of your next hearing. You are expected to be at the next hearing, whether you remain in police custody or are able to get out on bail.
Do You Need to Call a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Many people wait until after their arraignment to reach out to a criminal defense attorney. However, you benefit more from having your lawyer present at the hearing. Your attorney will help you choose what plea gives you the best chance at a favorable verdict and may be able to negotiate reduced bail.
Thomas Kokonowski has extensive experience representing the citizens of Massachusetts after being accused of many different crimes. Attorney Kokonowski can provide you with the zealous legal advocacy needed after your arrest. Call for a consultation at 413-737-9700.