Getting arrested is stressful to say the least. In the immediacy of an arrest, it’s common to be concerned about the potential penalties that you might be facing, but you really need to take your case one step at a time. This starts with your arraignment, which is where you make your first court appearance, are informed of the charges against you, stand mute, and have bond set.
What should you do to prepare?
You need to be prepared before heading into court for your arraignment. Here are a few things that you can do in that regard:
- Show up early, as failing to do so could mean that you miss your hearing
- Be prepared to wait, as you’ll likely be just one of a number of individuals being arraigned that day
- Listen to the judge and respond appropriately. But do not discuss the facts of your case!
- Ask for clarification if you don’t understand the charges levied against you
- Write down the date, time, and location of your next hearing
- Stand mute. The Court will enter a “not guilty” plea on your behalf
- Have someone with you that can pay your bond, if the Court sets anything other than a personal bond
This last step can mean the difference between going to jail and going home while the case is pending. Therefore, it is vital that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney before your arraignment who can carefully consider the facts of your case and how you want to proceed. Speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney can prove helpful here, as he or she can help you understand the charges that you’re facing, what the prosecution has to prove to obtain a conviction, what defense options you might have at your disposal, and how to prepare for the judge’s bond decision.
Just keep in mind that you don’t have to have all of the answers to your criminal defense at the time of arraignment. In fact, it’s often times best to stand mute so that you have time to more fully assess your options. Even if you think that you’re guilty, you can still stand mute without fear that you’re lying to the court. This is a Constitutional right that you have to ensure that you receive due process and a fair trial.
With that in mind, take the time needed to adequately prepare for your arraignment. If you’d like assistance in that regard and in building your long-term defense strategy, then please consider reaching out to a legal professional who is experienced in this area of the law.