An arraignment is the first appearance for a defendant in front of a judge. If you have an upcoming arraignment, a Queens arraignment lawyer can appear with you and speak on your behalf. How you handle your arraignment is an important first step in defending against the charges you’re facing. Queens arraignment lawyers are available to assist you and ensure that your arraignment proceeds smoothly.
It’s important to remember that an arraignment is an important hearing. The state might make critical mistakes when they prepare the charging documents. The mistakes can mean that the charges against you are invalid. Your attorney may help you review the charing paperwork in order to ensure that there are no mistakes.
To mount a proper defense to a criminal charge, it’s important to understand the charges that you’re facing. The judge reads the charges to you at your arraignment. You have a right to hear the charges that your facing. The judge may ask you if you have questions.
You may be in custody at your arraignment, or you may be free on bond with bail or on your own recognizance. If you’re in custody at the time of your arraignment, you can expect law enforcement to take you for your arraignment at the appropriate time. An arraignment may occur in person in front of the judge or by video from a jail facility.
If you’re not in custody for your arraignment, it’s important to go to the right place for the arraignment proceeding. The address of the court should be listed on your court paperwork. It’s important to determine where you need to go before your arraignment time. When you get to your arraignment, you may need to check in by telling a court clerk or a bailiff that you’re present and ready for the proceeding.
The judge may conduct many arraignments in a row. They might call your case first. They might call your case last. It’s important to be prepared for a wait.
At your arraignment, you may have the opportunity to plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If you plead no contest, the court often wants a reason for the no contest plea such as being intoxicated an unable to remember the events that prompted the charge or not wanting to make an admission because of potential civil liability. However, a Queens arraignment lawyer may advise you to plead not guilty even if you are unsure that you want to take your case to trial.
If you plead guilty at your arraignment, you lose the opportunity to contest the charges. You lose the chance to negotiate the charges down to a less serious offense. You can’t ask the state’s attorney for a reduction in the charges even if you have a compelling claim. By entering a plea of not guilty, you preserve the right to talk to witnesses, build the evidence in your case and hold a pre-trial conference with the state’s attorney in order to discuss non-trial resolutions. Even if there are not factual defenses to your claim that are viable, the state’s attorney may agree to a reduction in the charges just because of mitigating circumstances or to clear a case from the docket. Pleading not guilty gives you the opportunity to explore all of the avenues to address the charges no matter what you ultimately decide to do in the case.
Another reason to have an experienced Queens arraignment lawyer by your side is to avoid missteps that can make your case harder to defend against. For example, what you say at your arraignment may be used against you later on in the case. Your arraignment is not the time to explain to the judge what happened or why the charges are unfair. You may be able to ask the judge to dismiss the charges later, but for now, only errors in the charging documents or a case of mistaken identity should be brought to the court’s attention. Your experienced Queens arraignment lawyers can help you ensure that you don’t make errors that may jeopardize your claim.