An arraignment is a public hearing where the accused is informed of the allegations against them and given the chance to enter a plea. A preliminary hearing will follow the arraignment if the accused chooses to enter a not-guilty plea. The arraignment can be concluded, and the guilty plea recorded if the accused enters a guilty plea or has already accepted a plea deal.
At the arraignment, a judge may decide to drop some of the charges if they believe there is insufficient evidence to proceed with the case. The accused may also be offered a plea deal, which could involve pleading guilty to lesser charges in exchange for reduced sentencing.
Additionally, if new information arises that would exonerate the accused, it is important to consult with a criminal defense attorney prior to the arraignment to determine what options are available to you. Even though it is uncommon, it is wise to be prepared in case the court decides to dismiss all charges.
What Happens During an Arraignment Proceeding?
Your arraignment hearing is scheduled after formal charges have been filed against you and is the first formal court proceeding that you will attend in a criminal case. Regardless of whether you were charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you will have an arraignment.
An arraignment gives you the opportunity to hear the charges brought against you and understand your protected rights. During this time, you will be able to enter your plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty.
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Is It Possible for Charges to Be Dropped at an Arraignment Proceeding?
Having your charges cleared and escaping punishment during an arraignment hearing is uncommon. A judge generally lacks the authority to drop criminal charges at an arraignment.
Charges may be dropped by the prosecutor at an arraignment. However, there must be a good justification for the prosecution, such as learning that a person was falsely accused. NPR reports that 98% of federally charged criminals end up taking a plea deal. This is a good indicator that if the prosecutor and defense lawyer reach an early plea agreement at the arraignment, some charges can be dropped.
Am I Required to Attend My Arraignment, or Can My Lawyer Attend on My Behalf?
You must typically show up in person for your arraignment. The initial court appearance is usually the arraignment, at which time you are officially informed of the allegations against you and requested to enter a plea. It is a significant event that establishes the framework for the remainder of your case.
Even though your attorney can advise you and advocate for your rights during the arraignment, your physical presence is usually required unless specifically excused by the court. It is best to speak with your attorney to learn the particular criteria and expectations for your arraignment.
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How Can I Get My Charged Dropped Before My Court Date
Although it can be difficult, getting your charges dropped before your court date is not impossible. You can take the following actions to improve your chances of getting your charges dropped:
Gather any proof that demonstrates your innocence or undermines the prosecution’s case. This could be in the form of papers, images, recordings, or witness testimony. If you provide the prosecution with strong proof, they can decide to drop the charges.
Consult With a Criminal Defense Attorney
Get legal counsel from a skilled criminal defense lawyer. They can evaluate the validity of the evidence gathered against you, point out potential legal obstacles, and provide you with advice on how to best pursue a dismissal.
Negotiate with the Prosecution
To present your case and justifications for dismissal, your attorney may enter into discussions with the prosecution. This can entail pointing up gaps in the law, a dearth of supporting data, or constitutional infractions. If the prosecution believes your arguments are strong, they might be willing to drop or reduce the charges.
Submit Pre-Trial Motions
If there are valid grounds to dispute the allegations, your counsel may submit pre-trial motions, such as a move to dismiss. This could be the consequence of improper methods used to gather the evidence, violations of the constitution, or a lack of reasonable cause. If the motion is approved, the charges can be dropped.
Present Mitigating Elements
Any compelling mitigating factors, such as a lack of criminal history, cooperation with law enforcement, or evidence of rehabilitation, may be presented by your attorney to the prosecution on your behalf. It might influence their decision to drop the charges or offer a more agreeable plea bargain.
Your attorney can speak with any witnesses who may be able to prove your innocence or offer contradictory stories in order to compile their statements. Your case for dismissal may be strengthened if you present credible witness testimony.
Work closely with your attorney, giving them all the information they require and offering your entire cooperation while they prepare your case. Building a solid defense strategy and improving teamwork might increase the likelihood of having the accusations against you reduced.
The potential of having charges dismissed before a court date varies depending on a number of circumstances, including the strength of the evidence and the prosecutor’s discretion, and it is crucial to remember that each situation is unique. To evaluate your particular situation and choose the best strategy for your defense, you must consult with a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
You will always work directly with your attorney throughout your case.
What Can I Do to Prepare for My Arraignment Hearing?
It’s essential to be ready for your arraignment hearing if you want to handle the legal process successfully. Begin by speaking with a criminal defense lawyer who can advise you and explain the charges against you, your legal options, and if there’s a chance that your charges could be dropped during the arraignment. It’s wise to review any court records connected to your case beforehand.
Develop a defense plan in close consultation with your counsel. Discuss all pertinent data and evidence, prospective legal defenses, and mitigating circumstances. Make a list of inquiries to clarify any doubts you may have regarding the charges or the arraignment procedure.
Lastly, show respect for the court by getting there early on the day of the arraignment and dressing appropriately. Throughout the proceedings, maintain a composed and respectful posture, and refrain from saying anything that could jeopardize your defense. Your lawyer will help you navigate the procedure and make sure you are ready to address the court.
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