What to Expect at Your Arraignment
Jan. 26, 2023
If you are facing criminal charges in Texas, it is important that you understand what an arraignment is and what to expect during this court proceeding so that you can adequately prepare yourself for this first step in the criminal process.
If you have been arrested and are waiting for your arraignment, you need to understand what to expect next and what you can do to improve the outcome of your case. At Madson Castello Law, we offer personalized attention to each client we represent. Whether you are being investigated for a crime or are already in custody and waiting for your arraignment, we can help.
When facing charges, your future and freedom could be at stake. Our criminal defense lawyers have more than 30 years of combined legal experience. We pride ourselves on providing skilled, aggressive, and compassionate representation to clients in Dallas, Texas, and other parts of North Texas, including Fort Worth, McKinney, and Denton. Having tried more than 300 cases (and counting) to a jury, we have developed professional working relationships with law enforcement and prosecutors across North Texas.
What Is an ‘Arraignment’?
An arraignment is the initial hearing in the criminal justice process where the judge reads out the charges against a defendant and asks them how they plead guilty or not guilty. During this hearing, the judge will also inform the defendant of their rights, including their right to remain silent and their right to an attorney if they cannot afford one. The purpose of this hearing is to determine how the accused person wishes to proceed with their defense strategy.
When Will the Arraignment Take Place?
In Texas, arraignments typically take place within 48 hours of when a defendant is arrested. However, this time frame may vary depending on certain factors, such as whether there was an arrest warrant issued or if there were extenuating circumstances involved in the case.
Under Texas law, arraignment cannot take place later than two entire days after the day on which the defendant was served with a copy of the indictment. After your arraignment has taken place, your next court date will be set based on your plea (guilty or not guilty) and other factors related to your individual case. During the arraignment, the judge decides whether or not to grant bail.
What Occurs at the Arraignment?
In most cases, your first appearance in court will be for an arraignment. At the arraignment, you will formally enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. The judge may also set bail at this point in order to determine if you should remain in jail until your trial date or be released until then.
Additionally, any other conditions of release are typically determined during the arraignment hearing. It’s important to note that in Texas, defendants do not need to appear before a judge for their initial court appearance. Instead, it can occur over video teleconference (VTC). The VTC helps speed up the criminal justice process by allowing individuals who have been arrested more quickly access to legal representation and due process under the law.
An arraignment marks the beginning of any criminal proceedings. For this reason, it’s essential to understand what happens during this phase of your criminal case, as well as how important having legal representation present can be for those facing criminal charges. Everyone’s situation is unique, which is why you’ll need the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney to help you prepare for what’s to come next in your case.
As you wait for the arraignment, do not speak to law enforcement without first talking to your lawyer. Anything you say to the police can be used against you and could further complicate your situation.
Do I Need an Attorney for the Arraignment Process?
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, it’s essential that they have legal representation as soon as possible—especially during the arraignment process. An experienced criminal defense attorney can ensure that your rights are protected throughout the entire process while making sure that all necessary paperwork is filed properly and on time.
A lawyer can also advise on what plea should be entered depending on the circumstances surrounding your case and help reduce or eliminate potential fines or jail time if convicted. Finally, having a lawyer present can help ensure that all evidence presented is accurate and legitimate since they can cross-examine witnesses and challenge the evidence brought against you in court.
Rely on Experienced Representation
If you or your loved one is held in jail awaiting arraignment, you need to understand what happens next and what you can do to help your case. Contact our criminal defense attorneys at Madson Castello Law and rely on our experienced representation. We can leverage our more than 30 years of combined experience to defend you and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Reach out today to talk about your situation.