Criminal Law Questions Answered: What Can I Expect During My Arraignment?

When you have been arrested on a criminal charge, you are immediately caught up in a whirlwind of legal activity that can be confusing and very intimidating, particularly if you have never been in trouble with the law before. No matter what type of crime you have been charged with, once you are arrested you are caught in a system that is focused on proving you are guilty, so it is essential that you arm yourself with a legal advocate that can balance the playing field and make sure that you have a strong legal defense. The experienced lawyers at Erik B. Jensen Attorneys at Law understand that you need somebody on your side, and we will be there for you at every step along the way.

Understanding the criminal legal process, including what to expect during your arraignment, will go a long way towards providing you with a sense of control. The first step is called a criminal complaint, and this is a formal filing of the charges against you. It is prepared by the arresting officer and includes many of the details of the case, including the charges against you and why they charged you.  After the complaint has been filed, the next step is called either a preliminary arraignment or a preliminary hearing, depending upon whether you are summoned and arrive without being arrested or whether you are arrested. If you are arrested then you will have a preliminary arraignment, which is where the complaint against you is presented, you are advised of your rights, and a preliminary hearing date is set. It is also when bail will be set. At a preliminary hearing the prosecution will try to establish whether a crime has been committed and that you are the person who committed it. If the district justice believes that there is enough evidence to justify the arrest then you will be held for trial.

The next step is the formal arraignment. It is during your arraignment that the formal charges against you will be presented, you will be advised of your rights, and a good deal of the court’s administrative dealings are addressed. This can include presenting deadlines for filing pretrial motions. It is very important that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney representing you at the formal arraignment, as they will need the information provided at the arraignment in order to provide you with the most effective defense against the prosecution’s charges. Following the arraignment, the next step is the pretrial conference, and this is where your lawyer, the judge and the prosecution will make important decisions about the rest of the proceedings and whether to accept a plea bargain or to go to trial.

At Erik B. Jensen Attorneys at Law, we work diligently to ensure that our clients are provided with the best criminal defense available to them, and the sooner we are involved in your case, the more effective we can be. If you have been charged with a crime, call us immediately so that we can get to work on your behalf.

Learn more about our Criminal Law services HERE.