What is an Arraignment?
If you have been accused of a crime, several hearings will be scheduled immediately after. You need to know your next steps following the charges. An arraignment is the first criminal procedure that happens inside the court when you are officially read the charges against you. Although you will likely have a sense of your charges before you go to court for the arraignment, your lawyer should be present at the arraignment and be prepared to help you with your next steps.
Your Right to an Arraignment
The arraignment is not just a formality; it’s actually one of your constitutional rights to hear the charges against you. The arraignment, for that reason, has to occur within a specific period of time after you have been taken into custody.
Usually, you’ll be looking at a scheduled arraignment within 72 hours after you’ve been taken into custody. You could otherwise have a rightful claim to allege that your right to a speedy trial has been trampled. If you have already spent the night in jail, there’s a good chance you’re getting ready for an arraignment.
What Happens in an Arraignment?
In many cases, the arraignments are a procedure that involves multiple steps. The first phase is having you, the accused, appear in front of the court. The judge will inform you that you do have a right to be represented by a lawyer. In other cases, you might be told about your access to a public defender if you are unable to afford a lawyer. It is strongly recommended that your criminal defense attorney is retained prior to the arraignment so that you know the charges ahead of you and how to proceed.
The next phase of the arraignment is typically a plea, in which you will enter not guilty, guilty, or no contest. Your attorney might have already worked out a plea deal in your favor, making it easy to figure out your next steps.
Find an Experienced Atlantic City, NJ Defense Lawyer
If you have already been accused of a crime, you cannot afford to wait to get a lawyer. Retain someone who has the experience to step into your case quickly and to look for all possible avenues for resolution. The Law Offices of John W. Tumelty are here for you. Contact the law firm today.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.