What is an Arraignment? Do I Need a Lawyer at my Arraignment?
Updated: Feb 11
During an arraignment, the judge or magistrate formally informs you of the charges against you. The accused is expected to enter a plea of guilt, not guilty, or no contest. The arraignment is the initial appearance in court and sets the stage for subsequent proceedings and conditions to follow in your case.
Do you want your lawyer at your arraignment? Absolutely. Without a lawyer handling your defense strategy, you may enter the wrong plea.
The law is full of deadlines and requests that must be made timely or you lose certain rights. The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner your lawyer can obtain copies of the police report, witness statements, and audio and videotapes, if they exist. Additionally, in certain alcohol-related cases you must request an administrative hearing within 15 days of your arrest or you lose the right to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license. Emotions and stress can be heightened during an arraignment, always hire a lawyer before you go into that type of legal setting.