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What Happens at an Arraignment?

An arraignment is another word for the first court appearance in a Colorado criminal case. During a typical arraignment, several things will typically happen, such as the following:

  • The defendant is informed of the charges
  • The defendant enters a plea
  • The judge sets the case for further proceedings

Usually, the accused must always be present at the arraignment for felony cases, but in misdemeanor cases, the defense attorney might appear without the presence of the client. If you’re due to appear at an arraignment, you should know what to expect in advance.

This appearance is usually held within a few days or a few weeks after the arrest. Most misdemeanors are handled by the County Courts, while a felony might be dealt with by the District Courts. During the meeting itself, the judge will call your case and read out the formal criminal charges against you, after which he or she will ask how you will plead. Since this is the initial notice of formal charges, you can enter a plea that you can later change. If you enter a plea of not guilty, the judge will put your case down for another court date, usually the pretrial conference. After this date is set, that might be the end of the arraignment. In most criminal cases, these hearings only last for a couple of minutes.

If you were charged with a felony, you would need to attend the arraignment, but it might be difficult for you to appear in person depending on the circumstances. Never skip the arraignment, however. Make sure to get approval ahead of time for the court if you can’t make the hearing. If you don’t show up, the court might issue a warrant for your arrest, which could result in jail time and high fines.

Before the arraignment even happens, make sure to contact a skilled Denver criminal defense attorney. He or she can inform you of how you should plea during the arraignment and what to do following the hearing. An excellent lawyer will also keep you well-informed of the status of your case.

If you have questions about your case or you would like an experienced lawyer on your side, contact the Law Offices of David L. Owen, Jr., P.C. I have more than 30 years of legal experience to offer your case. Let me take a look at your situation and offer advice regarding your best course of action.

Contact me at (303) 622-3281 or fill out the online form to schedule your FREE case consultation with us today.