to enter a plea, this did not happen. I was arrested 8/2011 in Dekalb county and I had a bond hearing within 72 hrs. Last week I received a letter with a scheduled arraignment date for next week 4/11/12. I contacted the public defender for my case by voicemail and email and have received no response. I called Friday and found out I was assigned another lawyer and spoke with him, but he said he had no information on my case, not even my statement or the info I gave to the other attorney or my contact info, let alone have the discovery for the case. I can not afford another lawyer but I don't feel confident with who I have, because we go to court in 2 days and have not talked at all about my case. What can I do?
Arraignment does not have to be within 72 hours. Arraignment usually will occur within a month or two, but could be as much as for to six months from arrest. It all depends on what jurisdiction you are in and which court your case is in.
Arraignment is your first opportunity to enter a plea of not-guilty, guilty, or no contest. It is usually also your first opportunity to apply for a court appointed attorney.
Go to court at the time and date specified. No matter what else you do, go to court.
There is no "arraignment in 72 hours" law in Georgia. It is oftentimes confused with "First Appearance" hearings, which you had.
You appointed lawyer will ask for more time if he needs it, and he'll get all the documents he needs in due course. You can always hire your own lawyer if you wish. Family often helps with this.
You can contact me at my office at 770-744-4211 or by email through this website. The questioner and any reader do not have an attorney-client relationship formed by our communications on this website. Advice given by me on this website is general advice based on partial information. You should not rely on any advice given without first hiring a lawyer in the area where the case is pending, and providing that lawyer with full information.
First appearance has to happen within 72 hours, not arraignment. Public defenders are very busy, especially in Dekalb, and it is not unusual for them to not have much time to look at your case before arraignment. If you need to have an attorney who has more time to spend on your case, you should speak with some private attorneys to see what they would charge to handle your case before deciding that you cannot afford one. I do not know your charges, but it is often worth doing whatever it takes to get the most dedicated attorney possible to avoid life-long effects of a conviction. Some attorneys even work on payment plans. Please let me know if I can be of assistance. I would be happy to help.
M. Jason Rhoades
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