What to Expect at an Arraignment

October 13, 2020

An “Arraignment” or “First Appearance” is one of the first steps in the criminal process that involves a hearing before a judge in court. After you have been arrested or a criminal complaint has been filed against you by the state, you will receive an arraignment date. You will receive a notice of this hearing. This notice will typically be accompanied by the summons and complaint the county attorney has filed on behalf of the state against you, the Defendant. This summons and complaint will provide you with the crime you are accused of committing, the statute this crime is a violation of, and what the potential penalties are. In addition, the complaint will contain a statement of probable cause, which sets forth facts the County Attorney used in charging you with the alleged offense. For instance, if charged with a DUI, the statement of probable cause will outline what events occurred that gave rise to the charges now being filed against you. 

            For many people the arraignment will be their first time ever appearing in court. It can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially when your freedom is on the line. During this hearing the judge will read the charge(s) against you, ensure you understand your rights, and you will have an opportunity to enter a plea. Having a private criminal defense attorney can be very valuable at this stage, even if you only intend to plead guilty. This is due to the fact that the arraignment stage of a criminal proceeding is typically the first time the prosecuting attorney will have reviewed your case file. During this initial review of the file, most prosecuting attorneys will consider the option of reaching a plea deal with the defendant. A plea deal can allow for you to receive a lesser punishment than what is typically imposed for the offense you are alleged to have committed. 

Having a private criminal defense attorney allows for an easier understanding of the different plea deals that may be offered, and which of those deals may be a good idea for you to take. A private criminal defense attorney can also help advise on when you should enter a plea of not guilty and set your criminal matter on for an additional hearing.

Contact Private Criminal Defense Attorney Alec Rolain of Fowler Ditsch, LLC, to inquire about representation in your alleged criminal matter. Fowler Ditsch, LLC, has represented clients in criminal proceedings for 20 + years. Contact us by email at rolain@fowlerditsch.com or phone at 651-287-8883. 

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