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What Happens at an Arraignment?

Many people have heard of the arraignment process, but are not sure exactly what it entails. Arraignments are court proceedings in which a person is notified of the charges that have been initiated against him or her and given the option to enter a formal plea. These proceedings are sometimes performed in addition to an initial appearance by a person in court. Because the arraignment process involves complex legal issues, many people find the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney helpful.

What Happens During an Arraignment

During an arraignment, a judge will read a person’s charges from the charging document. A person will then enter a plea, which can occur in person or through video conferencing.

Arraignments must occur without “unnecessary delay” following a person’s arrest, which is often perceived to be within 48 hours. If an arraignment does not happen quickly, the prosecution must show that extraordinary circumstances justified the delay.

As part of the arraignment, the court must notify a person about certain things including:

  • The nature of the charges
  • Your right to an attorney
  • Your right to a preliminary hearing in some situations
  • Your right to bail
  • Your right to a jury trial, and
  • Your right to remain silent

Given the many complicated issues raised during this period, many people discover that it is helpful to rely on the assistance of a skilled criminal defense lawyer.

The Plea Part of Arraignments

An arraignment will not occur until a person has received a copy of the charging document and been provided a reasonable opportunity to review and object to the associated charges. During an arraignment, a person will be asked to enter a plea to related charges. The different pleas that a person can make during an arraignment include:

  • Guilty: This plea claims that the facts raised by the prosecution are true and admit that the defendant committed the offense being charged. If this plea is entered, the prosecution is not required to prove a case, and a person’s defense attorney is not offered the ability to determine the strengths and weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
  • No Contest: This plea claims that the person being charged did not commit the crime but cannot prevail against the charges in court. A no-contest plea is different from a guilty plea because it cannot be used against a person in other proceedings.
  • Not Guilty: This plea states that the facts raised by the prosecution and the associated charges are not true and that the person being charged did not commit the crime. This plea is often the one that people are advised to enter because it forces the prosecution to gather evidence against a person and offers the chance to review the prosecution’s case.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one is charged with a criminal offense in Ohio, do not hesitate to contact the criminal defense attorneys at Kruger & Hodges to make sure that you have the strongest defense possible. Our attorneys have helped many people navigate the numerous complications that can arise in a criminal trial including arraignments. Contact our law office today.

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