What to Expect at Your Seattle Arraignment

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Dec 27


What to Expect at Your Seattle Arraignment

by Anonymous

What to Expect at Your Seattle Arraignment

What is an Arraignment?

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, whether a misdemeanor or felony, your first court event after being charged is known as an arraignment. The arraignment will take place usually within the first day or two after you have been charged and/or arrested. 

The sixth amendment to the Constitution guarantees your right to a speedy trial, as well as your right to be informed of the charges against you. Because of this, arraignments almost always occur within two days of your arrest or after charges are brought against you. The arraignment is also your opportunity to enter a plea (usually a “not guilty” plea). 

What You Can Expect at Your Seattle Arraignment

At the arraignment, you will be directed by a court officer to stand in the designated defendant’s spot. You are known as the defendant. The state is the plaintiff, bringing charges against you. First, the judge will inform you of your rights. Those rights include the right to have an attorney present and your right to a speedy trial. You may request a public defender if you cannot afford a private attorney. If you request a public defender, one will be appointed by the judge, and you will (usually) meet the public defender following your arraignment. 

Next, the charges against you will be read out loud. The judge may or may not tell you what the potential penalties for the offense are in the event you are convicted. At this point, the judge will ask you how you plead to the charges. 

You have three choices when asked how you plead. If you deny the charges and want a trial to prove your innocence, you will enter a “not guilty” plea. If you accept the charges and are ready to be sentenced, you will plead “guilty.” Finally, you could enter a plea of “no contest.” This means that while you are not admitting your guilt, neither are you actually contesting the charges against you. 

It is virtually always in your best interests to plead “not guilty,” particularly if you do not yet have an attorney. There are certain exceptions to this that are best discussed with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Depending on your charges, the judge may set your bail, along with other conditions of your release. In making these determinations, the judge will consider whether you have a prior criminal history, or this is your first offense, along with how likely you are to return to court. The severity of the charges also has a direct bearing on whether a bond will be required and whether you will be released or remanded to jail until your trial. In other words, if you are accused of a particularly heinous murder, you are unlikely to be released—or if you are released, your bail will be extremely high. If you are accused of a misdemeanor, you may be released with no bail or low bail. 

If the judge has ordered bail, you must pay the bail prior to being released. You may also be required to turn over your passport. If you are accused of a DUI, you may be forbidden to drink, or if you are accused of stalking another person, you may be ordered to stay away from that person. All of these are known as the conditions of your release. If you violate the conditions of your release, you may find yourself arrested and jailed, or you could seriously damage your chances of a successful defense.  

 Facing Criminal Charges in Seattle? We can Help! 

If you are facing criminal charges of any kind in Seattle, you need someone on your side through the process. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers can help you from the moment you’re arrested. We will protect your rights and your future at every turn.

Don’t take chances with your future; contact a Seattle criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The experienced lawyers at Lewis & Laws, PLLC,  have successfully defended clients in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form. 


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