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Criminal Arraignments


An arraignment is when someone is formally charged with a crime in court.  There are three parts to any criminal arraignment.  First, the court will make sure that the defendant is represented by counsel.  This means appointing an attorney to the defendant if the defendant qualifies as being indigent.  Otherwise, a defendant will be instructed to hire a lawyer.  Second, the court will read the charges against the defendant and ask the defendant to enter a plea.  Most of the time, this simply means entering a plea of “not guilty,” which is just a formal way of saying that you want to see the evidence against you, work with your attorney to challenge anything unfair in the case, and potentially receive a fair trial.  Third, the court will hear any bail arguments which the District Attorney’s office makes.  This is the part during which having a lawyer is essential.  You need a good lawyer to frame your argument with the court to show that you are not a flight risk and can therefore be trusted to appear on your own for court dates instead of having to sit in jail.


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