If you are accused of any crime, a court date for your case schedule will be sent to you via post or mail for an arraignment. A court appearance called an arraignment allows you to have your charges read out loud in public and make a not guilty, guilty, or nolo plea. Now the question arises What Happens After Arraignment? We have discussed that in detail below.
After arraignment, the offending individual will have to appear in court for a pre-trial hearing. The case may end if they issue a guilty plea at that meeting. The court will schedule a trial if they choose not to enter a guilty plea. If there are any dates, the victim/witness advocates may let you know.
You might not comprehend the purpose of an arraignment hearing if you’ve never been arrested; however, if you’re interested in learning more about the arraignment process, including what happens before, during, and after it, going through this article will help you understand the process.
A defendant’s opportunity to establish a positive first impression in court usually occurs at the time of arraignment.
When someone is involved in any case, an arraignment hearing is the first thing they might anticipate after the initial arrest in 48 hours. The defendant will learn about the charges against you at the arraignment. At this point, the defendant is expected to make a plea. This can also Happen At Arraignment For A Misdemeanor.
If you are in a defendant position by any chance, you may enter a not guilty, guilty, or no contest plea depending on the specifics of your case. You may or may not be freed while awaiting your sentencing date, depending on the legal accusations you’re up against. It also depends if it is Formal Arraignment or not.
For most petty criminal offenses, you can have a defense lawyer attend on your behalf. Most people find courtrooms and legal proceedings scary. You have the legal right and are strongly advised to hire a defense attorney.
As a member of the same profession, I have also assisted numerous clients in achieving favorable results during this preliminary stage. We learn how the opposing party approaches this procedure phase while working in the courtroom.
What Happens After Arraignment?
So, when you are done with your arraignment hearing, the prosecution may determine whether to proceed with your case or not during an arraignment. If you enter a guilty plea at the arraignment, you are punished, and a trial is not necessary; but, if you enter a not guilty plea, additional hearings will be scheduled to allow for trial preparation.
Legal representation is crucial since you only have ten days from the arraignment date to file appeals unless the judge grants you more time.
What to Expect Next?
Your case will go to pre-trial if the accusations against you are not dropped at the arraignment hearing. This phase will consist of the following:
- Additional court appearances: Following your initial hearing or arraignment, you will show up in court more frequently.
- Discovery phase: The defense attorney might raise objections to the evidence the prosecution presents (for example, if the evidence was obtained illegally.)
- Changing your plea: You may do so, but only after speaking with your lawyer.
- Plea bargain: Your attorney will fight for the best plea bargain or settlement for you.
- Jury trial: If you reject a plea deal, your case will go to trial.
To assess the possibilities of your conviction, your defense attorney will examine your case and the facts against you.
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Some Cases are Successfully Resolved at the Preliminary Hearing
After arraignment, the start of pre-trial meetings and hearings is the next stage in the criminal defense procedure. A preliminary hearing will occur before a judge without a jury. The court will review the prosecution’s case. However, having a criminal defense attorney speak on your side during this pivotal stage of your case is essential.
In the sessions between the prosecutor and defense, both sides examine the positive outcomes and weaknesses of the case, pretrial challenges, and indirect aspects of the defendant’s case, including their character, background, and reason for committing the act (if they are guilty).
Here is Why the Preliminary Hearing is Important
- Charges may be dropped: The judge has the option of dropping all charges. There will be no more sanctions, and the accusations against you shall be withdrawn.
- Lessen the fees: One or more felonies may be reduced to less severe offenses by the prosecutor.
- Proceed to trial: A judge’s decision to order your case to move to trial is the third possible result of a preliminary hearing.
Trial after Arraignment
The case will ultimately go to trial if the prosecutor has not dropped the accusations and the parties have not reached a plea agreement. Despite having the option to have a judge review the evidence alone, defendants have the right to face a jury.
The trial undergoes the following processes:
The prosecution must prove every component of a crime. The prosecutor you have hired must gather and provide evidence first. Evidence may consist of witness statements, tangible objects (such as forensic evidence or biometrics), pictures, videos, and audio recordings.
The Defense’s Case
The defendant speaks after the prosecution presents its case. The defense attorney now looks for gaps or vulnerabilities in the prosecution’s case by cross-examining testimonies, summoning their witnesses, presenting an alibi, and introducing some other evidence supporting their client’s innocence.
Meanwhile, you can observe how they are leading their case, and if they are on the winning side, your team must take a sudden turn.
Arguments and Instructions
The judge advises the jury on the relevant legal principles following the conclusion of the hearing. The attorneys strive to persuade the jury to rule in their favor by discussing the law and the facts during their closing statements.
Finally, it is time for closing remarks when both sides have presented their arguments. The defense then lays up its case before the prosecution. All counsel must adhere to the evidence guidelines during a trial.
It is now time for the jury or the judge to consider after such trial proceedings have taken place.
Can Criminal Charges Be Dropped at Hearing?
As I have witnessed in many cases, having the charges dropped during an arraignment hearing is uncommon. A judge generally lacks the authority to drop criminal charges at an arraignment.
The prosecution may drop charges at an arraignment. However, to lower the criminal charges, there must be a reasonable justification for the trial, such as learning that a person was falsely accused. If the prosecution and defense lawyer reach an early plea agreement at the arraignment, the accusations you might be going through can be dropped.
Also Read: Can Charges Be Dropped At An Arraignment Hearing?
What Happens if a Person is Found Guilty in Federal Court?
Generally, the judge may set a sentencing date when a defendant is proven guilty. After that time is specified, both the opposition and the prosecution will file motions. The probation division will question the defendant and compile a record for the judge to review.
The court will decide whether take the individual into custody before all of that. The prosecution may contend that a defendant should be detained and held without bail, pending punishment, once found guilty, which increases their flight risk.
When determining the appropriate punishment, the judge will consider the defense’s arguments, any objections to the probation department’s pre-sentence evaluation, and any submissions made by the government.
Finally, they will decide based mostly on federal guidelines, the defendant’s criminal background, and their understanding of the case after hearing oral arguments from the accused and the defense lawyer in court.
After going through this article, you may have perceived the idea of what happened after an arraignment. The person has to go through several legal processes after arraignment.
Many things can happen after the arraignment depending on the offense you are accused of and your plea. If you enter a guilty plea, sentencing is required. A preliminary Session and Grand Jury will be held if you enter a not-guilty plea and are accused with a charge; else, a Pre-trial will be held.
These are the stages that must take place for the procedure to come to an end.
Hi, I’m Brian Gary; I have my Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) degree from SMU Dedman School of Law in Dallas. Over the years, I have dealt with many families and successful corporate Legal cases. I have counseled many people on legal matters, and along with my profession, I write about Law on my blog. Please feel free to contact me for counseling/case discussion; I’ll be happy to help you.