What to Expect at Your Arraignment Hearing

What to Expect at Your Arraignment Hearing

If you were told that you will soon be arraigned for your crime, you may be curious about what this entails. What is an arraignment and why do you have to have one? An arraignment hearing will be the first time you meet with a judge concerning your charges after an arrest.

These arraignments normally take place within 24 hours of your arrest. A lot of important factors concerning your case are decided at this arraignment, and it’s best if you can have a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer there beside you when you face the judge. If you don’t have a lawyer ready to accompany you, then the court will provide one.

What Happens at the Arraignment?

During your arraignment hearing, a court officer will call out your docket number. This is the identification for your case. He or she will also declare that you are the defendant by listing the name of your case. After this, he or she will ask you, the defendant, to waive the reading of your rights, and then waive the reading of the charges if you so choose.

It is up to you whether or not you would like the court to read through your rights and charges. While it saves time to skip this part of the arraignment, it may help you to clarify any confusion about your case. You can certainly ask to have the rights and charges read if you prefer. After the charges are read or waived, a judge will ask you to enter a plea.

Entering a Plea of "Guilty" or "Not Guilty"

When the judge asks you to enter a plea during the arraignment, you will declare whether you believe you are guilty or not guilty of the charges that were read to you. Many times, the prosecution will read notices during this time. This means that they will cite the laws in the Arizona Penal Code that you have been accused of violating with your actions.

If you choose to accept a plea bargain, instead of choosing to fight the prosecution at a criminal trial, you may never need to appear back in court after your arraignment. This is only if you voluntarily admit that you are guilty of the crimes that you have been accused of. Because you admitted your guilt, you will probably be granted a lesser sentence.

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