What is an Arraignment for a Criminal Defense Case?
When you are charged with a crime, you’ll likely be given a court date for criminal proceedings to take place. Depending on the nature and severity of your crime, this trial process can take days or even months. Here’s what you can expect during the arraignment phase of your criminal defense case.
What Is Arraignment?
Arraignment is a phase of the legal proceedings of a criminal case where the criminal charging document is formally read aloud in the presence of the defendant in order to inform them of the charges placed against them. It is then that the accused is expected to enter their plea of:
- Not Guilty
- No Contest
When Does an Arraignment Take Place?
Your arraignment will take place after you have been arrested and before sentencing. Arraignment has long been known to be a speedy process, and the Supreme Court has established that criminal arraignments must take place as soon as possible for those accused. In most cases, suspects will attend their arraignment within 48 hours of incarceration.
What Happens During Arraignment?
Though it is typically a short process, arraignment includes, or can include, any or all of the following:
- The defendant will receive a document detailing the current charges filed against them.
- The defendant making a plea of either ‘guilty’, ‘not guilty’, or ‘no contest’ (although the initial plea is almost always ‘not guilty’).
- The judge(s) will appoint counsel unless the defendant has already hired a lawyer (in which case they will be present at the arraignment).
- The judge(s) will review the bail status.
- Pretrial motions will be scheduled for a later date.
- Other upcoming hearings related to the criminal case will be scheduled.
Do I Need to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer for my Case?
Although you may be able to represent yourself in court when you are charged with a crime, having a professional criminal defense lawyer in Maryland to help you fight your charges and seek lesser penalties will ensure the best outcome at the end of your trial.
The lawyers at the Law Office of Ross Albers are highly experienced in defending criminal cases in MD and have a proven record of successfully navigating the arraignment process, as well as every other step your case requires. Contact us today at (443) 665-8030 for a free legal consultation with our experts.