If you have been accused of a crime, it's essential to understand every step of the legal process so that you can be as mentally prepared as possible to adequately deal with the situation at hand. For first offenders, especially, it can be confusing to keep track of what comes next and how to best approach it. With this in mind, today we're going to take a look at arraignments and break down exactly what they are and how you should get yourself ready for one.
What happens during an arraignment? Typically a brief court appearance following an arrest in which a judge informs a criminal defendant of the charge(s) against him or her, arraignments mark the formal beginning of the courtroom proceedings. Additionally, the judge will set bail and notify the defendant of any conditions to his or her release, such as not consuming alcohol or possessing firearms. He or she also may establish a schedule for a preliminary hearing, pretrial motions and even, in some cases, the trial date.
How can I prepare for an arraignment?Although a defendant is permitted to represent himself during an arraignment, it is not recommended. Instead, it's advisable to retain a lawyer prior to this important part of the legal process since these professionals are trained to help individuals determine the best course of action during their courtroom proceedings. If the defendant can't afford to hire an attorney and the possible punishment for his or her offense includes jail time, he or she can apply for a court-appointed lawyer.
When you go to the arraignment, be sure to dress properly and arrive at the court on time. Take a look at our blog article on Tips For Your Day In Court.
As always, if you have been accused of a crime in the Granite State, you should consult an experienced New Hampshire criminal attorney who can help you prepare, ensure that your rights are protected and look out for your best interests throughout the entire process.