Arraignment

What is an arraignment?

An arraignment is your first court appearance on a criminal charge. It generally takes place the business day after the arrest.

An arraignment, in its most simple form, is the first step of a criminal prosecution where the defendant is brought before a judge to hear the changed against him as well as to enter a plea. A defendant must appear for an arraignment if he has been summoned by the court or if he was arrested for a crime. Arraignments occur one after another in an open courtroom, meaning the arraignment can happen incredibly quickly. In both federal and state court, the arraignment works in the same way. First, the court must read the charged to the defendant in open court.  Second, the defendant must enter a plea to the changes.  Third, the court informs the defendant of all warnings and advisories required by law and finally the court determines any conditions of the defendant’s release.

After the defendant’s name is called and he moves to the front of the court, the charges against the defendant are read. Next, the judge will ask the defendant about counsel. At this point, the defendant can either say he has already retained an attorney or plans on doing so or the defendant can ask for a state appointed attorney.

Next, the defendant is asked to enter a plea.  Almost always the defendant will enter a plea of not guilty. Prior to an arraignment, the defendant usually as little to no time to conference with an attorney to determine which type of plea would be best.  This means that the defendant acts wisely in entering a plea of not guilty because it allows for more time to confer with an attorney before entering a plea that could potentially be harmful to the defendant’s case.

Finally, the court determines the conditions of the defendant’s release. There is a presumption in Massachusetts courts that a defendant should be released on his own recognizance, which means that the defendant doesn’t need to post bail to be allowed to leave. Bail is only set to ensure that the defendant returns to court for his next appearance. In determining what amount bail should be set at, the judge looks at a number of different factors that could include the nature of the offense changed, the potential penalty to the defendant, the defendant’s financial and family situation, the defendant’s past criminal record, or even the defendant’s mental health records. In some cases, the judge sets specific restrictions in order for the defendant to avoid paying bail. For example, if the defendant is in school the court might require regular attendance from the defendant.

Prior to leaving the courtroom, the judge will set the date for the defendant’s next court appearance, at which point the prosecution moves out of the arraignment phase to the next part of the proceedings.

Criminal Defense Representation at the Greater Boston Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP

For over four decades, the Greater Boston Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP has been providing outstanding legal services to clients throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Our skilled criminal defense attorneys have appeared as legal analysts on CourtTV, The Fox News Channel, MSNBC and The BBC Network.  Our Boston Criminal Lawyers have the experience, knowledge and courtroom expertise necessary to deliver legal advice of the highest quality during every stage of your criminal proceedings – including arraignment.

If you are facing an arraignment in Massachusetts, please Contact the Greater Boston Criminal Defense Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP to schedule a Free Initial Consultation with one of our experienced defense attorneys.  Our phones are answered twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.  In addition to being available around the clock via telephone, all Emails sent to Altman & Altman, LLP receive an immediate response.  With offices conveniently located in Cambridge and Boston, our MA Criminal Defense lawyers have the ability to speak with you face-to-face about your legal matters.  Please Contact our office today to set up your confidential fee-of-charge initial consultation.

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" It is with great pleasure and honesty to write such a wonderful story about Atty., Ian Keefe and Atty., Sam Goldberg. Our entire family was turned upside down on November 16, 2012. Knowing we would need an Attorney, we began speaking with several attorneys in the Boston area. My sister and I decided to hire Attorney, Ian Keefe and Attorney, Sam Goldberg after a brief but very comforting knowledgeable conversation with them. .After a 14 month battle of back in forth in and out of court rooms, appearing in front of judge after judge, we were not only scared but thought it was never going to come to an end. Believe me, we were all suffering beyond words. But all prevailed because of their great knowledge, honesty, integrity, patience and thoroughness. Wow! we walked away with not only a Not Guilty verdict but--No Record--everything was dismissed and the entire slate has been wiped clean. Ian and Sam are so well educated with so many years of experience that we were not shocked ... "

Susan G.

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Dear Sam, I can not thank you enough for your expertise in the handling of Chris's case as well as your sensitivity and caring attitude. toward him. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. He really expressed how good it felt to be able to talk to you! Sincerely and may God bless you.
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I really appreciate your prompt and highly effective assistance on this matter. After six different OUI attorneys told me that there was no way to recall the warrant and dismiss the charges against me without me returning to Mass from California, you managed to accomplish what they said was impossible. Thanks again!
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It took some 30 years,almost the loss of a job,fid card ,arrested ,etc,etc.i tried several lawyers,and got the same disappointing answer ;sorry ,nothing we can do;.One little phone call and back and forth on the iPad,and for the first time i felt positive that this issue could be resolved.MR Goldwyn,and Ms Aisa Fitzgerald told me their game plan,and they made it happen.I am a very ,very happy clam.
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