Lawyer for an Arraignment and Other Criminal  Proceedings

You do not need to have a lawyer on your side present at an arraignment but many people recommend that if you are facing criminal charges to discuss your situation with a good criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.


An arraignment is a formal reading of a criminal charge in the presence of the defendant who is being charged with a crime. Once the defendant has been charged, they are expected to enter a plea. A plea is simply an answer to the the charge. There are different kinds of pleas that are acceptable in different jurisdictions but most jurisdictions allow for pleas of:

– Peremptory pleas, which set out reasons why a trial cannot proceed

– Guilty

– Not guilty

– Nolo contendere, no contest

– Alford, a type of guilty plea where the defendant claims innocence but conedes

 that they will be found guilty

Lawyers and Arraignments

Typically, an arraignment is where you first appear before a judge when you are facing criminal charges. It is here that you make a plea. While the more typical pleas are guilty or not guilty, there are other pleas that many jurisdictions allow for. More often than not, a defendant initially enters a not guilty plea even though this may change during the course of their criminal proceedings.

When a defendant offers a plea of not guilty, typically, the judge hearing their case will:

– Set a date for the next event or deadline in their case

– Consider bail requests they (and their lawyer if they have one) or the

 prosecution make

– Appoint a public defender to your case if your financial circumstances warrant it

At this time, the judge may ask a defendant to give up their rights to have their trial or other statutory proceedings occur within specified periods of time.

When it is necessary, many people are able to handle an arraignment without a lawyer without creating dire circumstances for themselves and their defense but when possible, it is highly recommended to have a good lawyer on your side from the get go.

Public Defender

During an arraignment is typically the first time that a defendant has the opportunity to ask for a public defender to be assigned to their case. Some courts will appoint a lawyer to a defendant right on the spot whereas others will delay your case in order to review and approve (or deny) that your economic circumstances warrant this.

Each state has different rules for the economic requirements for a free public defender but most are required to grant this to anyone who is considered indigent, with a real risk of incarceration.

People who do not qualify for a free defense may qualify under “partial indigency” which means that at the end of a case, the defendant is responsible for partially repaying the state or county that provided them with their defense.

Learn more about criminal law information with the Best Federal Criminal Attorney.