Arraignment is but one stage in a criminal case

Law And Legal

When you are arrested for the commission of a crime, this is the beginning of a long road which will either end up with you regaining your freedom and your rights or a penalty of some sort which can include jail time and/or a fine. When you are first arrested you are taken to a police station where you go through the booking process and placed into custody. Depending on the nature of the crime you may have a bail hearing in short order or bail hearings may be set aside until the arraignment. Of all the stages of a trial, arraignment is where you will first have a court appearance and it may be the first time you are in the company of your criminal defense lawyer in Orange County.

At the arraignment your status changes, when you walk in you are a suspect, when you walk out you are a defendant in the case. At the arraignment the charges which have been brought against you will be read into record and the judge will ask if you are fully aware of the charges and understand what they are and what they mean.

As anyone charged with a crime in the United States has the right to representation by a defense lawyer, the judge will ask you if you have a criminal defense lawyer in Orange County or whether you want a court appointed lawyer. Although court appointed lawyers are true criminal defense attorneys, they are usually so loaded with cases that you are far better off with a private lawyer if you can afford the services.

At this time you are asked to make a plea, either innocent or guilty. When you have an attorney at your side he will advise you and in most cases the plea is innocence. When a plea of innocence is given, a trial date is established and bail is either set or re-visited.

Bail is normally given; this allows you freedom up until the date of your trial. If bail was set when you were first arrested, the amount may be amended once you have been arraigned. Although you are always innocent until proven guilty, if the charge is one of a violent crime and you have a past history of violence, bail may be refused.