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Arraignments

Posted February 4, 2012Information

One of the first questions I get with a new or prospective client is “What is this court date called an arraignment I have to go to”. 

For people who have never been arrested before or those unfamiliar with the criminal justice system going to court is a scary proposition, the good news is when you hire a skilled and local attorney you will not have to show up to most of your court dates.

An arraignment is the first time after your first appearance, arrest, or notice to appear that one goes in front of the judge. The Florida Rules of Criminal Procedures 3.160 defines the Arraignment process as follows:


The arraignment shall be conducted in open court or by audiovisual device in the discretion of the court and shall consist of the judge or clerk or prosecuting attorney reading the indictment or information on which the defendant will be tried to the defendant or stating orally to the defendant the sub-stance of the charge or charges and calling on the defendant to plead thereto. The reading or statement as to the charge or charges may be waived by the defendant. If the defendant is represented by counsel, counsel may file a written plea of not guilty at or before arraignment and thereupon arraignment shall be deemed waived.

In laymen’s terms the arraignment is the time where an accused is read what they have been formally charged with and for the said accused to answer that charge with a Guilty or Not Guilty.

The time after and individual is arrested is quite possibly the most important period during the life of a criminal prosecution and investigation.  Most people think once they are arrested, charges have been filed. That is not true. After the first appearance and the judge finding that there was probable cause for the arrest the case will go the Office of the State Attorney, whether it be in Orange, Seminole, Volusia or Osceola Counties. Once at the State Attorney’s Office an intake attorney will receive the file and will at that time determine the appropriate filing decision. Sometimes charges will be lessened, raised, or even dropped (known as a no file). If you retain a skilled attorney early on that attorney can communicate with the intake attorney and demand charges to be dropped or reduced if there are glaring constitutional concerns or if the arrest was a mistake. 

Charges are usually filed prior to a Defendant’s arraignment, at times the State may not be ready or not have enough information to make a filing decision at that time; therefore, they would then request a continuance.  Please note if the State does request a continuance speedy trial must be watched closely by an aggressive attorney.

The great news is if you have hired a lawyer prior to your arraignment you will usually not have to attend. Once retained, I file a Written Plea of Not Guilty, Notice of Appearance, and Wavier of Arraignment. The previous stated motions in effect tell the Court that my client at this time will not admit guilt because it is the State’s burden to prove otherwise. These motions are filed well before the arraignment; therefore my clients will not have to show up.

If charges are filed, following the arraignment various court dates will ensue and usually I can waive most of those court dates for my clients so they may go on with their day to day lives as I tirelessly and aggressively fight their charges.

Contact Central Florida Criminal Defense Attorney, Ryan Yadav, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, for a free consultation if you or a loved one has an arraignment date in Sanford, Orlando, Deland or Osceiola County in the near future.

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