What’s an Arraignment?

By Lowry Law Firm | Posted on October 11, 2014

Once charged, the first hearing is called the arraignment, which occurs typically within 4 weeks of being formally charged (meaning the charging document, called an Information or Indictment, has been filed). Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney Mark Lowry is a former prosecutor and experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your charges and determine the best way to fight them. Contact the firm for a free consultation to discuss your case and ask questions today.

At the arraignment, the Court addresses 3 main topics: whether the defendant understands the charge(s); whether he has counsel, needs counsel or will be hiring counsel soon; and whether he pleads guilty, not guilty, or no contest (choosing not to contest the charges because its in the defendant’s best interests, but has essentially the same effect as a guilty plea, but preserves some appellate rights if necessary). Pleading guilty or no contest ends the case, and the judge sentences the defendant based on either a plea agreement with the State or by pleading “open” to the Court (Court may sentence the defendant anywhere between the minimum and maximum), and may be dependent on any minimum mandatory sentences or the felony score sheet. Arraignments can be waived, meaning you do not have to show, if criminal attorney Mark Lowry is hired immediately after arrest by supplying the answers to the Court in writing, called a Notice of Appearance. The Court will typically set the matter next for a calendar call, at least 1 month later, to determine whether the case is trial ready.

If you or someone you love has been cited or arrested for anything, contact criminal attorney Mark Lowry immediately to help understand the criminal process and how to fight your charges. We offer affordable payment plans and 24 hour service 7 days a week.