What is an Arraignment?

What is an Arraignment, Plea or Trial?

Our Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorneys will tell you that arraignment in the criminal court consists of bringing the accused before the court, informing that person of the charges, and asking the accused to plea to the charges.  In Fort Lauderdale, arraignment generally takes place with in two or three weeks. At arraignment, the accused by and through their criminal lawyer should always enter a plea of not-guilty regardless of how hopeless the facts seem. This will allow the Defense Lawyer to fully investigate the facts of the case.

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Lawyer William Moore Strongly Advises Against Pleading Your Case.

The fact is that pleading guilty or no-contest at arraignment is never a good idea. Even if the ultimate outcome will be a resolution by plea, it is paramount that an individual’s defense lawyer be given the opportunity to at the very least develop mitigating factors to reduce the ultimate sentence. In the majority of cases, in Fort Lauderdale, the defendant's guilt and the applicable range of sentences are determined by a plea agreement struck between the prosecutor and defense counsel.  Giving your attorney time to work on your case will increase the chances of receiving less of a punishment and possibly even a reduction of charges.

Pretrial Motions

Pretrial Motions filed by either your lawyer or by the state generally have time deadlines. Pretrial motions are requests that the trial court take some action, such as dismissing a defective indictment, ruling on the admissibility illegally obtained evidence, or ordering the parties to disclose certain information.  In essence, these matters can or must be disposed of prior to the trial on the merits of the case. Fort Lauderdale, like all jurisdictions in Florida, has rules governing the time period within which pretrial motions must be filed with the trial court.

Criminal Trial

The American criminal justice system is an adversarial process that assigns each participant in the trial a defined role. The judge is not an advocate for either side, but rather is concerned with enforcing procedural rules.  The prosecutor’s primary task is to present all evidence against the defendant and seek a conviction.  The defendant has no obligation to present any evidence or play any part in the trial, because a defendant may rely on the presumption of innocence and remain passive during the trial. Any seasoned attorney will tell you however, that as an advocate for the accused, sitting by idle is never advisable. Any legal strategy used to prevent the State from meeting its burden should be employed at all costs.