If you have committed a crime, either a minor misdemeanor or a significant felony, then you have to undergo a complex legal process. One of these processes is the arraignment hearing.
An arraignment hearing is just the initial stage of complex court hearings. It’s a chance to hear the charges filed against you (the defendant) and negotiate a plea.
So if you are wondering if charges can be dropped at an arraignment or after, you will find this article helpful in many ways. You also need to understand What is Formal Arraignment.
Meanwhile, the charges against you can be dropped by hiring an expert criminal attorney to file a solid move to the law enforcement authorities. But it would help if you kept in mind that it is not that common and uncomplicated to drop the charges at an arraignment. However, a prosecutor can drop them if you have enthralling evidence to support your motion.
Let’s move ahead and find all possible ways to help you drop the charges before or after arraignment.
Can Charges be Dropped at an Arraignment Hearing?
To be straightforward, I would say that it depends upon the type of your case and the judge. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem very easy. It will be a critical process if you are charged with a significant crime. However, if you(the defendant) don’t have committed anything serious, you can expect that your charges can be dropped at an arraignment hearing.
Besides inquiring about the possibility of dropping charges, you should also know that the drop of charges is handled chiefly by a prosecutor and not by the judge.
In some countries, for the defendants like you who wonder if charges Can Charges Be Dropped After arraignment hearing, a legal hearing is called a probable cause hearing.
In simple words, during the probable cause hearing, a judge checks the probability of the evidence. If the defendant has committed a serious crime and the evidence is strong enough to prove a charge against the defendant, the charges cannot be dropped. However, the judge can drop charges at the arraignment hearing if the evidence is collected without a warrant and gives proof of a minor crime.
If you are not charged with a significant crime, you can try to make the prosecutor drop the charges at an arraignment hearing by following the ways below.
File a Motion
An easy way which you can use to drop your charges at an arraignment hearing is by filing a motion.
This act is carried out professionally by your attorney. The motion will include why you want the charges against you to be dropped and a request to drop the charges before the arraignment hearing.
So if you are thinking about whether the charges can be dropped before the arraignment hearing, then yes, filing a motion can help you the most. There is an excellent possibility that the judge can drop the charges or even dismiss the case against you before the arraignment by just filing a solid motion.
Hire an Expert Attorney
Although the arraignment hearing is not a complex legal process, it still requires a professional criminal attorney to support your case.
During an arraignment hearing, it is most likely that a judge will question you about all the crime scenes in which you were involved, but you may not know an accurate answer. Similarly, the prosecutor brings all the evidence against you to the table and tries to prove you are eligible for the charges.
However, it is not that tricky, but if you don’t have any experience in this kind of situation and want to win the case, then an expert attorney can help you. The attorney controls the position at the court and clarifies your confusion about whether the charges should be dropped at an arraignment hearing.
Consequently, besides other pre-arraignment preparations, going for a professional attorney can lead to a win-win situation.
Do the Best Preparation before the Arraignment Hearing
First, you don’t need to worry about the arraignment hearing because it is not as big a deal as you think. It is just an informal hearing held before the trial. That is why you should move ahead with reasonable confidence. This behavior is a good indication of your innocence and, therefore, may prove helpful to drop the charges.
Accordingly, preparing your case best before the arraignment is an efficient way to make the prosecutor or judge drop the charges against you. The primary preparations include:
- Gathering enough strong evidence on your behalf.
- Knowing the witness’s information accurately.
- Going through any other information which your attorney provides to you.
During this process, you and your attorney may find some points which could help make your case as strong as possible. Therefore it’s always recommended to make your pre-arraignment preparations the best so they could prove handy to drop the charges against you at the arraignment hearing.
Can Charges Be Changed after Arraignment?
You get arrested for it when you are found committing a crime. As a result, an arraignment hearing is called in which you are informed about the charges against you. You may find the charges somewhat shocking during this hearing, making your case complex. Accordingly, if, due to this or any other reason, you want to know whether the charges can be changed after arraignment or not, then there is good news for you; yes, they can.
Let’s suppose a situation where you are charged for violating some legal rules, but later on, you want to change the charges to a minor misdemeanor case, and then you can do it. It is your officially legal right, but you should remember that it is not a more manageable process, and there are few chances of passing. However, you must contact a criminal attorney to change charges successfully.
Can Charges Be Added after Preliminary Hearing?
A preliminary hearing is a small trial where the prosecutor summons witnesses to give proof against you. The judge reviews these proofs to know whether you have committed a crime or not. If the judge finds out that the evidence is efficient enough to support the criminal charges against you (the defendant), then a trial will be called for further proceedings of your case.
In short, during this preliminary hearing, the charges can be added or removed. Also, you have a chance to adjust your bail amount after the preliminary hearing as well. If sentencing is announced on your hearing, you can check our guide on How Long After Arraignment Is Sentencing.
Can a Case be Dismissed at Arraignment?
Are you wondering how a case can be dismissed at arraignment? Then look at the following easy ways to get your case dismissed even on the day of arraignment.
Sometimes, the prosecution does not have accurate information regarding the case filed against you due to incorrect information. Therefore, first of all, check out all the information, such as the warrant, details of the witnesses, crime scenes, or any other evidence of your case before arraignment day. If you find any mistake in these details, then there is an excellent possibility for you to make the judge dismiss the case at arraignment.
Second, your attorney can file a strong motion to dismiss your case due to incorrect information or insufficient evidence against you (the defendant).
Consequently, when the arraignment day arrives, and the judge considers any of the above ways accurate, they will dismiss the case at arraignment. You can use these two simple methods to get your case dismissed at arraignment.
Moreover, the judges also issue ACOD (Adjournment in Contemplation Of Dismissal). This legal act means negotiation between the judge, defendant, and the attorney to dismiss the case during the arraignment. It is issued on the fact that the defendant (criminal) will not engage in any crime scene afterward throughout their life. However, the process may take about six months after the arraignment day to dismiss the case.
On the other hand, if you get arrested during this time, you will not have a chance to dismiss the case. Therefore take every step consciously and see What Happens After Arraignment.
Do you (the defendant) have to attend the Arraignment Hearing?
Well, it depends upon the complexity of your case. If you are charged with a minor misdemeanor, you may not have to appear in the arraignment hearing. But your attorney has to be there on your behalf.
In contrast, if you are charged with a significant crime, your presence in the arraignment hearing is a must because there would be the possibility of complex investigations regarding your case.
Besides, now in some countries, a waiver is granted to the defendants. It states a solid reason you cannot attend the arraignment and request the judge to conduct it online. If your reason is valid, you don’t need to appear in the arraignment physically.
What Plea can be given during an Arraignment Hearing?
Sometimes, when your charges or case is not dropped at the arraignment hearing, you have to give a plea in any of the appropriate situations. In this way, your attorney can guide you best as to which of these plea situations is profitable for you.
So following are the three possible situations to which you can give a plea:
1. No Guilty
If you (the defendant) plead not guilty, your case will be moved ahead, which may involve critical circumstances.
When a defendant pleads guilty, it means ensuring the prosecution that the defendant has committed the crime and is feeling guilty for it. So the trial can proceed with filing any charges against the defendant they consider suitable. Irrespective of the situation, the defendant has an excellent chance to dismiss the case by pleading guilty to the charges.
3. Nolo Contendere
It means to admit neither nor refuse the charges against the defendant. Primarily, you can consider it somewhat similar to pleading guilty. But here, the term “Nolo Contendere” means “No Contest,” indicating that you (the defendant) do not wish to continue the case without accepting the crime.
What happens if you do not accept a plea to be guilty at an arraignment hearing?
If you don’t accept a plea to guilty at arraignment, then you are letting the prosecution schedule further hearings and trials.
Can you get bail without checking up on the judge?
If you (the defendant) can afford the demanded bail amount, you can quickly come out of the cell without a hearing with the judge.
What is the main difference between a preliminary and arraignment hearing?
A preliminary hearing is when the judge decides whether the evidence is strong enough to support the charges against you or not. At the same time, the arraignment hearing is when you have to plead to the charges.
After how much time can the trial be expected?
You can expect a trial within 50 to 60 days after an arraignment hearing.
How can I have the criminal accusations against me dropped?
You can drop the criminal charges against you through a pretrial diversion program, clerical mistakes, lack of evidence, plea agreement, and by helping the forces in solving another case.
Is there a possibility of dropping the case after you plead guilty?
There are high chances that your case can be dropped after you plead guilty to the charges.
In conclusion, we hope you find this article helpful and until now you have picked the strategy which suits you best.
Whether you are looking for how charges can be dropped at/after arraignment or what’s an arrangement, then you’ll have found your answer. Also, if you are trying to make any changes to your charges after arraignment, you can do so easily by just going through the above guide.
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.