Most individuals are unaware of the criminal process – especially the arraignment process. This hearing (or multiple hearings) can determine numerous things regarding your case and your freedom; therefore, it is important that you fully understand how this process works and how it can impact your life. More importantly, by understanding the process, you can better understand why it is imperative that you have legal representation present during this critical step.
Probation Department Check
Before being summonsed or arrested, you may be required to check-in with the probation department prior to your arraignment. This is a formality required under Massachusetts law. The probation department will require information, such as your name, address, date of birth, the correct spelling of your name, etc. They use this biographical information to run an in-depth criminal background check. Your CROI will then be sent to the courtroom for the district attorney and judge to review. This helps determine bail amount and also helps show any past criminal convictions – or current parole/probations you may be serving.
Depending on the charges and your criminal history that shows up in the CROI, you may have a bail argument. If you are summonsed to appear in court, the issue of bail is unlikely to come up during your arraignment. If, however, you were arrested, it is likely you will need an attorney to argue bail on your behalf.
Sometimes your attorney and the prosecution will agree privately on a bail amount. If not, your attorney will then need to provide the judge with a more favorable view and prove that you deserve bail. Any prior convictions or defaults on bail in the past will impact your bail hearing; therefore, you should disclose these to your attorney so that they can qualify them while arguing your bail case.
Unlike what you see on TV, in Massachusetts courts you will not stand up in front of the judge pleading guilty or not guilty. Instead, the clerk calling the arraignment will enter the plea of “guilty” or “not guilty” on your behalf when your case is called.
There are some cases that may warrant a continuance for arraignment. This is very important, because once your case officially completes arraignment, you will now have an official court record showing an open criminal case against you – whether you have been found guilty or innocent. This may result in a job suspension or other penalties.
In these types of cases, your attorney may work to have your arraignment continued so that the case may be resolved and you can avoid a criminal record.
Speak to an Attorney Regarding Your Arraignments – Contact Keegan Law
Criminal arraignment is serious. It not only establishes a court record against you, but it may require you to come up with bail or bond just to stay out of jail and await your trial. A criminal attorney will work hard for you to defend the charges and hopefully, resolve the case before you have a record.
To explore your legal options, contact Keegan Law online for a case evaluation or call (617) 799-7644 to schedule your appointment.