Do I Need a Lawyer at My Arraignment?

January 1, 2019 | By Shane Phelps Law
Do I Need a Lawyer at My Arraignment?

Within 72 hours after an arrest, you will be scheduled for an arraignment. Although it requires an appearance in court, the arraignment is not the trial but rather the first step in the criminal process, during which the court will read your formal charges and your constitutional rights. The judge will also ask you to enter a plea.

You can enter one of the following:

  • Not guilty - You did not commit the crime. If you plead not guilty, you will be scheduled for a trial.
  • Guilty - You admit to committing the crime you were accused of. The judge will verify that you understand your rights and what you are admitting to.
  • No contest - You are not admitting guilt, but you are also not contesting the charges. This type of plea is usually entered when a civil lawsuit has been filed in addition to criminal charges. An admission of guilt during the arraignment may be used as evidence in the civil case.

Working with a Criminal Defense Attorney

Because the outcome of the arraignment will affect the next steps in the process and could substantially impact your future, it is recommended to have a skilled attorney by your side. A criminal defense lawyer can help you understand your rights and explain the arraignment process so you know what to expect. They will advise you on how to plea and what the next steps will be depending on what plea you enter.

Your lawyer can also answer questions the court asks, which can prevent you from making any incriminating statements that could later be used against you should your case be taken to trial. Any mistakes made could hurt your case and potentially result in a conviction with penalties that could affect your freedom.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Shane Phelps Law.

If you were charged with an offense, contact our skilled team at Shane Phelps Law. We have decades of combined experience helping individuals through the criminal process and have been successful at getting charges reduced or dropped. Our attorneys will work closely with you to gain an in-depth understanding of your circumstances and will begin developing a strategic legal defense to meet your unique needs.

To schedule a consultation, call us at (979) 775-4100 or contact us online.