When you are arrested in Florida, after your first appearance or bond hearing, you generally have an arraignment. Typically, this will happen within 2-3 weeks of your arrest. In some jurisdictions it can be months before your arraignment. If you have hired a Miami criminal defense attorney, they will likely be present at your arraignment; the prosecutor and the judge will also be there. Witnesses in the case are not typically present at arraignments.
As with other court appearances, you should let your Miami criminal lawyer do the talking unless you are directly spoken to by the judge. Here’s how the process of arraignment works.
- First, you will be informed of the charges against you, in full. If you would like, the charges can be read to you. If you do not speak English, the court will provide a translator.
- You will enter a plea: guilty, not guilty or no contest. In most circumstances, you should enter a plea of not guilty at arraignment, even if you plan to plead guilty later, so that a plea deal can be arranged. If you plead guilty, you will move straight forward to the sentencing phase. A no contest plea means that you are not admitting guilt but the court will treat it as a guilty plea in many respects. A not guilty plea will cause the court to set up a trial at some future date.
- In the event the prosecution files new charges, you will also have bail set on the new charges– or in some cases you’ll be released “ROR” or on your own recognizance – in which case you won’t have to pay a bond amount. Your lawyer will argue for an ROR or a low bond amount and the prosecutor will have the opportunity to argue his or her own case as well. If you have hired a Miami criminal defense attorney, they will make your arguments for you, letting the judge know why you should be released ROR and if bail is to bet set, what reasons exist for the judge to set it low enough for you to be able to afford to pay it.
We never recommend that a client represents themselves at any court proceeding and that includes an arraignment. You are not equipped to stand toe-to-toe with an experienced prosecuting attorney and may not have the right words or legal knowledge to secure your release. Make sure that you hire a criminal lawyer in Miami to represent you if you are going to be arraigned. You will have the opportunity to arrange for an attorney before you are called to go to your arraignment.
We handle a variety of criminal law cases, so call us now if you have any questions, (305) 615-1285.
View more contact information here: Miami Criminal Defense Attorney.