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THE ARRAIGNMENT

So you've been charged with a crime. Your first court date is coming up and you're wondering what to expect. You might be wondering what you should wear, what you should say, who the judge will be, who the prosecutor will be, and mainly, what is going to happen. This may come as a relief or a disappointment, but the reality is that, more than likely, nothing dramatic is going to happen.

If you have hired a lawyer to represent you, he or she will probably enter not guilty pleas on your behalf and schedule the next court date - that's it. It's doubtful that you will be given an opportunity to talk to the judge, the prosecutor, or anyone about your case, or that you will have any important decisions to make.

In some cases you may be given an opportunity to take a deal at your arraignment, but this is rarely a good idea. If you are one hundred percent guilty and are desperate to get it over with, it may not be the worst idea to try and resolve your case at the arraignment stage. However, just because you are guilty, doesn't mean you shouldn't try to fight for a punishment that is fair, and punishment that wont be an unreasonable hardship on you. Guilt and innocence aren't the only things considered in a criminal case, and it is usually in your best interest to present anything that is favorable to you.

There are a variety of miscellaneous issues that can be addressed at an arraignment such as a motion to reduce bail, challenging a stay away order, outstanding warrants, failures to appear, and whether your lawyer can appear on your behalf. If you think there is an issue in your case that might be able to be addressed at your arraignment, it is good idea to ask your lawyer about it.

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