The days immediately following being arrested can be scary and confusing. Not everyone is familiar with how the judicial system works, and so the entire process can be frightening and cause you unwanted anxiety. For many, one of the scariest parts about being arrested for a crime is the need to appear in court. A lot of people associate courtroom procedures with what they have seen on television or in the movies, but in real life things are much different. For instance, it is rare to have an attorney jump up with a “smoking gun” at the last hour, or to be surprised by which witness is being called to the stand. The dramatics that play out in Hollywood seldom show up in a real case, and being prepared for what lies ahead is one of the best things you can do to calm yourself down if you have to appear in court. After being release from jail (or, if you were not formally arrested, when you receive a Notice To Appear In Court), you will be given a piece of paper, saying you are required to appear in court. This hearing is called an Arraignment.
Here are a few things that will help you to better the purpose and business of an Arraignment:
● The Judge will call your case, typically be reading your name and case number.
● The Judge will confirm that you are in the courtroom, or that you have an attorney.
● The Judge will determine if the prosecution has filed charges against you or, if not, if the prosecution will be filing charges at the Arraignment.
● The Judge will read the charges to you.
● The Judge will ask you how you wish to plea to the charges, as they’ve been read to you.
● You will advise the Judge how you intend to plea, and will be given the date and time for your next court appearance.
It is essential to hire an experienced defense attorney before your Arraignment. You and your attorney will discuss your defense strategy before the Arraignment.
If you do not show up at the Arraignment, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest, even if you are a non-Florida resident or were visiting Key West on vacation. Our law firm, however, can take care of Arraignments without our clients having to attend, which can save them hundreds of dollars and hours of time. If you have been an arrested or received a Notice To Appear In Court, call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West.