Understanding the Arraignment Process
If you or a loved one were ordered to appear in court, you might be concerned about what will happen after you fail to do so. Most likely, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. Once you are arrested, then an arraignment will ensue. Read on to learn more about the arraignment process when it comes to a bench warrant.
What Is a Bench Warrant?
A bench warrant is a legal document that a judge issues that enable your arrest. If you fail to show up at your arraignment as scheduled, the judge will issue this warrant when he or she learns that you are not in court. If you are out on bail when you fail to appear at a hearing, the judge may set your bail at a significantly higher amount or eliminate it altogether.
The police will treat the bench warrant as if it is an arrest warrant and arrest you. If you were out on bail at the time, additional charges might be filed against you.
What Happens at Your Arraignment?
When you appear at your arraignment, the court will explain the charges against you. The judge will inform you of your constitutional and legal rights. Some of these rights include the following:
- The right to an expeditious trial.
- The right to be released from jail on bail.
- The right not to incriminate yourself.
- The right to confront your accusers.
- The right to hire an attorney.
What Are the Possible Pleas?
After the judge informs you of your rights, he or she will ask you to make your plea among the following:
- Guilty: Rather than have a trial in which the prosecution is forced to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, you may plead guilty.
- Not Guilty: You may choose to enter this plea if you believe you are not guilty of the crime you have been charged with.
- No Contest: You may plead no contest if you do not wish to fight the charges.
- Judgment of Acquittal: You may ask for a motion for judgment of acquittal if a reasonable jury isn't able to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Double Jeopardy: This motion states that if you were convicted, acquitted, or punished for a crime, you cannot be prosecuted or punished for that same crime in the same jurisdiction.
- Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity: This plea claims that the defendant was so emotionally disturbed at the time that the crime occurred that his or her intention could not have been to commit the crime.
Contact a Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one are concerned about missing a scheduled hearing, Hager & Schwartz, P.A. can help. We’ll walk you through the next steps to assist you during this difficult journey.
Contact us today at (305) 330-1360 to discuss your case and learn your rights.