Written by attorney MacDaniel E Reynolds

What is an Arraignment?

The court date on your criminal citation is the date and time you need to appear in court for your arraignment – this is not the trial date, but typically a procedural court appearance. At a criminal arraignment, you will learn exactly what crimes you are charged with, and you will receive the next court date for your case. Your case will not be resolved at this appearance, this is an opportunity for the court, the District Attorney and the person arrested to check in so that the process can get started. You are at a distinct disadvantage if you go to this court appearance along – it seems pretty straightforward when everything goes well. But the judge and the DA have done this hundreds of time and know exactly what to expect and how to behave, you don’t. And anything you say or do can affect your DUI case moving forward, making things even more challenging than they are already. Depending on the court and the charges you face, if the Reynolds Defense Firm represents you, we may be able to cancel the arraignment for you altogether, or may be able to appear in court for you on your behalf without you needing to be there. With that said, unless you have a lawyer tell you otherwise, you must be at the arraignment, or the court can issue a warrant for your arrest If you are charged with a crime, and you missed your arraignment, please talk with a lawyer who knows what he or she is doing immediately, because your case could go from “not good” to “really bad” very quickly. At the point you didn’t show up in court, the judge likely issued a bench warrant for your arrest. A bench warrant means you are in danger of a police officer coming to your home or work, placing you under arrest, and taking you to jail until the court can sort this out. If you are charged with a DUII, this can also result in an additional suspension of your driver’s license, and may prevent you from entering a DUI Diversion program. Regardless of what criminal charge you initially face, the district attorney can add another criminal charge - Failure to Appear - that you would also have to face. A good lawyer can mitigate many of these consequences for you, depending on the unique circumstances of your case, but the earlier in the process you bring that attorney on board, the more effective he or she can be for you.

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