What You Do Between Arrest and Arraignment Can Make All the Difference
After you’ve been arrested and bail has been set, a date for your arraignment will be set. At your arraignment, you will appear in court before a judge as well as a prosecutor, will be advised of the charges against you, and asked to enter a plea.
During the days or weeks between your arrest and arraignment, as you get back to your job, family, and day-to-day life, it can be easy to see your arraignment as just an appointment on your calendar - like a visit to the doctor or a haircut – with nothing to be done until it’s time to show up at the courthouse.
The reality is that what you do between arrest and arraignment can determine how your criminal case will proceed, what charges or penalties you may be facing, or even if charges will be filed at all.
Given all that is at stake and how important the time before your arraignment is, it is crucial that you call an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Here are the three biggest reasons you should hire a Colorado Springs criminal lawyer well before your arraignment date:
1. Your Defense Lawyer Can Negotiate with Prosecutors to Reduce or Dismiss Charges.
Once you hire a defense attorney, they can begin working on your defense immediately. That includes reaching out to prosecutors to explore the possibility of reducing your charges or dropping the case altogether before your arraignment date. Your defense lawyer will have a full understanding of your case, the evidence, and the applicable law and use that to your advantage.Your attorney may also be able to suggest alternative penalties other than jail time, such as diversion and rehabilitation programs or community service.
2. Thinking About a Guilty Plea? Think Again.
It can be tempting, especially if you been charged with a lesser crime or misdemeanor, to enter a guilty plea at your arraignment with the hope of a receiving a lighter sentence and a quick resolution that can put the ordeal behind you. But leaving the courthouse doesn’t mean you leave behind the consequences of a guilty plea. You could wind up with a criminal record that can have serious and long-term effects on your ability to get a job, loan, or housing, and could put your immigration status at risk.
A criminal defense attorney can advise you not only of the consequences of a guilty plea, but can give you a complete picture of all of your options as well as an objective evaluation of your case. With a full understanding of your situation, you can make a truly informed decision about how to plead at your arraignment and avoid making a mistake that could haunt you long after you have paid any fines or served any time.
3. Prevent a Bad Situation from Becoming Worse
You’ve heard it a thousand times on TV: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Your right to remain silent is just one of many rights you have and your failure to exercise those rights can make your already difficult situation even worse. It’s natural both before and after an arrest to want to tell the police or prosecutors your side of the story; to explain why you did nothing wrong or convince them that they are in fact wrong. Don’t do it. You may wind up accidentally making statements or admissions that could weaken your defense.
By retaining a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest, you can make sure that your rights are protected and that the decisions you make or things you do now won’t come back to haunt you later.