Arraignment 101

Arraignment 101

Arraignment 101If you’ve been arrested for a crime in California, the first formal court procedure that will occur is an arraignment. At this time, the defendant (the person who has been accused of committing a crime) will enter a plea of either guilty, no contest, not guilty, or a few other less common types of pleas.

When does an arraignment happen?

It usually occurs within 48 hours of an arrest if the defendant is in custody. If you are able to post bail or are release from jail of your own recognizance, the arraignment may occur weeks after your arrest. The date and time of your arraignment will frequently be listed on the citation the arresting officer provides to you, so make sure you hold onto it after your arrest. If you post bail, the bail bond company will keep track of your court date as well, so if you do lose your citation, you can always ask the bail bond company when you need to appear in court for an arraignment.

What plea should I enter?

It’s essential that you contact Upland California’s best criminal defense attorney, Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell, as soon as possible after your arrest, preferably before your arraignment, so that he can counsel you on what the best legal strategy is according to the details of your case. He will go over every aspect of your case and give you specific legal advice every step of the way, starting with what plea you should enter at your arraignment.

Most people enter a plea of “not guilty.” Consider entering this plea even if you think you’re guilty of all charges. If you enter a guilty plea, you will be sentenced immediately without the opportunity to provide an explanation or enlist the help of expert criminal defense attorney Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell, who can often negotiate lighter sentences with prosecutors on your behalf. Don’t worry—entering a “not guilty” plea isn’t considered lying to the court. Instead, it’s availing yourself of the opportunity to use your constitutionally-protected right to a fair trial, represented by a lawyer.

How long will my arraignment take?

This court proceeding will only take about 5 or 10 minutes, but you should expect to be at the courthouse for 2 hours or more. There will likely be many defendants scheduled for arraignments at the same date and time as yours, and you’ll have to wait your turn to official enter your plea.

Preparing for your arraignment

The #1 most important task you need to take care of before your arraignment is attending a free initial consultation at Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell about your case so our attorney can start implementing a sound defense strategy right off the bat.

Call 909-920-0908 or email to schedule your free case evaluation at Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell today.