What to Expect at Your Arraignment
According to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, Ohio reported 140,852 arrests to the FBI (excluding traffic citations) as part of the National Uniform Crime Reporting Program in 2020; 16,005 of those arrests were for drug offenses, and 9,668 were for DUI offenses.
If you’ve been charged with these or other common crimes in Ohio, it’s important to understand the criminal court process. An experienced criminal defense attorney can guide you through your arraignment and trial, and they will fight for the best possible outcome for your case. If you’re facing criminal charges in Ohio, call Wolfe & Mote Law Group, LLC in Columbus, Ohio, for expert legal advice.
What Is an Arraignment?
If you’ve been charged with a crime, your arraignment is the first time you will appear in court. An arraignment is a hearing during which the defendant is informed of the charges they face, and is usually when the defendant is asked to enter a plea. The judge will inform you of your rights, including the right to an attorney, and you will let the judge know whether you will be hiring a criminal defense attorney or asking for an attorney to be provided by the court.
When Will the Arraignment Take Place?
If you are in jail following your arrest, the arraignment will take place from 48 to 72 hours after your arrest. If you’ve made bail or were issued a citation, you may not be arraigned for several weeks.
What Occurs at the Arraignment?
At your arraignment, you will be advised of your constitutional rights as well as the charges you face. The judge may set bail at this point.
Finally, the judge will ask how you will plead. You can plea either “Not Guilty,”
“Guilty,” or “Plea of No Contest.”
Not Guilty: If you plead “Not Guilty,” the case will go to trial, and the state must gather enough evidence to prove that you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Guilty: A guilty plea is often arrived at through a plea bargain, during which the prosecution and your defense attorney negotiate the guilty plea in return for an agreed-upon sentence.
If you plead guilty, the judge will either decide your sentence at your arraignment or schedule a sentencing hearing to be held at a later date.
Plea of No Contest (Nolo Contendere): Pleading “no contest” will result in a similar outcome as pleading “guilty” in that the judge will decide on a sentence. A plea of “no contest” means that you cannot dispute the charges, but that you are not admitting guilt outright.
Do I Need an Attorney for the Arraignment Process?
It is a good idea to hire an attorney to advise you as soon as you are arrested. An attorney can discuss your options with you, advise you on how to plea, and can represent and support you during the arraignment as well as through the trial and sentencing, if applicable.
Guiding You Through the Whole Process
For the advice of dedicated and experienced criminal defense attorneys in Ohio, call Wolfe & Mote Law Group, LLC, serving Columbus as well as Dublin, Westerville, Gahanna, and Hilliard. Their services also reach throughout Licking, Newark, Heath, Granville, Fairfield, Lancaster, Pickerington, Delaware, and Powell counties. Criminal defense attorneys Stephen Wolfe and Elizabeth Mote are ready to fight for your rights and are dedicated to supporting you during the entire criminal court process. Call Wolfe & Mote Law Group, LLC today.