Arraignment

Criminal Defense Lawyer Serving Tampa

If you’ve been arrested on criminal charges, you’ll be taken to the police station for booking. It is wise not to say anything while you’re being booked aside from asking for a Tampa criminal defense attorney. During a booking, your fingerprints and photo will be taken. You’ll be given a court date, known as an arraignment. An arraignment in Tampa is a formal court hearing where the charges against you will be read aloud and you’ll need to provide a formal response to those charges — whether you’re pleading guilty, not guilty, or no contest. At Hanlon Law, we fight for the accused and may be able to represent you in an arraignment.

Arraignment

Arraignments are formal court hearings where a prosecutor files charges against a defendant. These charges are read aloud, and you’ll be required to state your formal response to them. If you’re represented by a criminal defense attorney, it may be possible to get the arraignment eliminated or continued. At the arraignment, if you can’t afford an attorney, but want one, a public defender or court-appointed private attorney may be appointed.

After letting you know what the criminal charges are, the judge presiding over the arraignment will ask for your plea. Your answer may depend on whether a plea agreement has been reached with the prosecutor. When you enter a not-guilty plea, you deny committing the crimes alleged and you can also ask for a trial by jury or a bench trial, which is a trial by judge. If you plead guilty, you admit you committed the crimes and you’re willing to accept the sentence given as punishment. Sometimes defendants choose to plead guilty or no contest to a lesser offense in exchange for the prosecutor recommending a lighter sentence than would be given for another, more serious charge. A no contest plea is also known as a nolo contendere plea, and you plead this way when you are not admitting nor denying commission of the crime. The impact will be the same as a guilty plea, but sometimes defendants are willing to plead no contest to a particular crime in exchange for a lighter sentence, even though they did not do it because it’s a risk to go to trial.

Bail in Tampa

In situations in which you plead not guilty, but you remain in custody, you’ll have a chance to argue at the arraignment about why you should be released on your recognizance rather than being required to post bail. It is also possible to argue a bail amount should be reasonable based on what the charges and facts are. A skillful criminal defense lawyer can often make these points more persuasively in most situations than a defendant advocating for himself or herself. Under certain circumstances, a prosecutor may not oppose bail, but ultimately, it’s up to the judge whether bail is granted and whether or not you’re remanded back into police custody until the time of trial. Every case is unique and the arraignment process can vary from courtroom to courtroom.

Consult a Skillful Criminal Defense Attorney in Tampa

Prosecutors have the discretion to decide whether to pursue criminal charges against you. However, prosecutors can be influenced by a skillful and persuasive criminal defense lawyer who understands the full picture of what happened and can show the prosecutor weaknesses in his or her case. Before an arraignment, it is advisable to retain experienced criminal defense counsel to investigate and negotiate with the prosecutor as appropriate. There are situations in which a plea agreement can be reached before an arraignment and you may need to plead differently based on the outcome of a plea negotiation by your attorney. If you are scheduled for an arraignment in Tampa, you have the opportunity to potentially change the outcome of your case by contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our founder Will Hanlon has represented the accused since 1994. Please contact Hanlon Law at (813) 228-7095 or via our online form.