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What will happen?

Fredericksburg, VA |

I'm 21 years old and I got caught shoplifting from Wal-Mart. The total was $30.32. This is my first shoplifting offense but my record shows traffic violations and a dismissed possession of marijuana charge from a few years ago. My arraignment is tomorrow morning. My questions are what will happen at my arraignment, will I be put on probation and will this remain on my record or could I pay a restitution fine?

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Attorney answers 3


Your case will not be decided on Avvo. We both know that. Even if I describe a general legal procedure of arraignment for you. Basically, the process means that a criminal defendant's first appearance in court or before a judge on a criminal charge. At arraignment, the charges against the defendant will be read or formal reading of such may be waived. After than, the bench judge asks the defendant if he is aware of the charges against him. Respectively, you will be asked how you wish to plead. It is not a hearing to determine guilt or innocence. That is it.
However, it will not change the obvious need for a criminal defense counsel to keep your criminal record clean and your future chances of educational and employment pursuits untarnished.

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An arraignment is just a formal reading of the charges. In Virginia, you do not enter a plea at an arraignment. You will be asked about your plans for an attorney, and the court will set a trial date. You would need to speak to your attorney regarding advice on what you should do in defense of the charges.

Good luck.

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James Garrett
Garrett Law Group, PLC
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Responding to questions on AVVO does not establish an attorney-client relationship between the questioner and any attorney associated with Garrett Law Group, PLC. Responses should be considered and used for informational purposes only. Every case is unique in its facts, and all legal matters should be discussed with a licensed attorney prior to making any decisions or taking any actions.


Arraignment procedures vary in each jurisdiction. However, the court always advises the defendant of what they are charged with and that they have a right to counsel. Usually, the court will ask if you plan on hiring an attorney, applying for a court appointed attorney, or waiving your right to counsel. You should schedule an appointment with a local defense attorney to discuss your case.