For many people, an appearance in court is a very new experience. The process can be confusing and scary. This article will help explain how your first court date, the Arraignment, works.
When you have been charged with a crime, the officer usually gives you a Citation, listing what the criminal charge is, and when your first court date is. It is important that you attend this court date, because failure to do so could result in the judge issuing a warrant for your arrest. This first court date is called the Arraignment.
Your smartest move is to tell the Arraignment judge “Not Guilty.” Doing so preserves your rights, your defenses, your options available to you. The judge will then assign you a forward court date, typically about a month and a half out.
As a condition of moving the case forward, sometimes the judge will impose conditions of release. In a DUI matter, this means no alcohol or non-prescribed drugs while the case is pending. If you have a prior DUI, or if your particular DUI involves more serious factors such as a collision, a high breath test, or underage passengers in your car, the judge may place you on Supervised Release. Supervised Release means that you must check in with a probation officer while the case is pending. Additionally, you typically must install an ignition interlock device in your car, submit random UA’s, or abide by other conditions imposed by the judge. An attorney will be able to make the right arguments to the judge to get you the best release conditions possible.
In a Domestic Violence accusation, the Arraignment judge can order that you have no contact with the alleged victim while the case is pending. This can have serious implications for you and your loved ones, because the judge’s order may mean that you have to vacate your residence. A violation of a No-Contact-Order is grounds to have your release be revoked and you taken into custody. It may also result in additional criminal charges. Prosecutors treat violations of these orders seriously.
At Carley Legal Services, we understand the complex issues regarding your Arraignment and conditions of release. We take the time to sit down with you and explain this process, to ensure that you fully understand how your case works. We will represent you in court, communicate with you every step of the way, and will fight to make sure you receive the best possible outcome.
Contact us for more information. The consultation is free.