Before the Court can consider your case, you must enter a plea. An Arraignment provides an opportunity for you to enter an initial plea for your charges. You should consult an experienced AZ criminal defense or DUI attorney well before your arraignment date, and well before you “plead guilty” to any Arizona criminal or DUI charges. Regardless of how severe the charges, you may have defenses and rights you are not aware of. You do not want to detriment or waive these rights or defenses by pleading guilty. A good DUI or criminal defense lawyer may be able to get your charges dismissed, reduced, or otherwise more favorable outcome in your case.2) Arraignment Notification, Scheduling, and LocationFor Phoenix DUI or criminal charges, you will be given a “complaint”. If you are not in custody, it is called a “summons”. This document provides information concerning your Arraignment date, location, and time you are scheduled to appear. All jurisdictions in Arizona are assigned to designated criminal courts where Arraignments are heard. For example, the city of Phoenix has its own Criminal Courts including City courts, Phoenix Justice Courts and Phoenix Superior Courts. Your complaint or summons will include the name of the court, and the location you are required to appear for your arraignment. Your court location depends on the nature of the charges, (felony verses misdemeanor) and the jurisdiction where you were arrested or charged. Most felony arraignments are held in Arizona Superior Courts. Most misdemeanors are held in Arizona’s Justice Courts. However, some felonies can initially begin in a lower court such as Arizona justice courts. Each city has its designated criminal courts for felony arraignments and misdemeanor arraignments will be heard.3) Court Procedures for Arraignments in Maricopa County
- Criminal Court Procedures for Arraignments vary from each other in Maricopa County. These differences are influenced by the following factors:
- Whether your case is a Misdemeanor or Felony;
- Whether you are scheduled to appear in City Court, Justice Court or Superior Court;
- Whether you were in custody, or not at the time of the notification of your Arraignment;
- If you are not being legally represented by a defense Attorney, you will still be held accountable for knowing and complying with the procedural rules of the court where the Arraignment will be held.
- If you must request a postponement of your criminal court date, you or your Phoenix criminal defense attorney must file a motion requesting a postponement in writing, to be sent or delivered to the court before the court date.
- If you ignore your court date or fail to appear for your scheduled Arraignment and have not retained a Phoenix criminal defense or defense attorney, a warrant may be issued for your arrest A.R.S. 13-2506 & A.R.S. 13-2507. The arrest warrant will remain outstanding indefinitely until you take care of the matter.
An Arraignment in Maricopa County is generally a brief but formal hearing. It provides an opportunity for the defendant to enter their initial plea for Phoenix DUI or Criminal Charges (not to be confused with a negotiated “Plea Bargain” or “Plea Agreement” towards resolution). You can expect the following at your Arraignment:
- Confirm your name, and the spelling of it; and make sure your contact information on their records are correct;
- Explain your rights, including your right to remain silent;
- Read formal criminal or DUI charges against you;
- Advise you of the range of potential sentencing if your are convicted of the charges;
- Your plans of retaining a criminal defense or DUI attorney;
- If you are unable to afford a private criminal defense or DUI lawyer, but still wish to secure legal representation, the court will screen you for eligibility for public defense or contract defense based on financial hardship. If you qualify you will have the option of hiring a court appointed public defender, at a lower cost, for free of cost. But you should know in some cases, you may still be responsible for providing a fee for the court appointed public defender.
- No witnesses need to be present at an arraignment. No testimonies including your own will be heard. At the arraignment the judge does not and will not grant any request to dismiss any of the charges against you.
- The Judge will ask you how you wish to plea to the formal DUI or criminal charge(s) against you; “Guilty”, “Not Guilty”, or “No Contest”.
If you have a scheduled Arraignment criminal or DUI charges, one of the most important decisions you will need to make, is how to plea. There are three Plea types that can initially be entered at your arraignment:
- Not Guilty
- No Contest
If you choose to plead “not guilty”, your next court date will be set and you preserve your right to retain a criminal defense Attorney and defend the charges. Although not advised, you may defend the charges without formal legal representation. Or you may retain a DUI or criminal defense lawyer in Arizona to challenge the evidence and charges against you.
If you choose to plead “guilty”, this means you accept guilt and the evidence the prosecution has against you, and waive your right to defense by a DUI or criminal lawyer. For misdemeanors, you will generally be sentenced by the judge at that time. For felonies, another future date will be set, usually within 30 days.
If you choose to plead “no contest” it means you hold that you do not accept guilt and you are not guilty of the charges. However, you agree in this case to accept a conviction, and penalties for the crime as ordered by the judge, within the Sentencing range of Arizona State Law.
Refer to “How to Plea” link for additional information on Plea types and their consequences in Arizona DUI and Criminal Courts.Contact the Law Office of James Novak today, if you have a scheduled Arraignment in a Maricopa County Court
If you have a scheduled arraignment date for a felony or misdemeanor for criminal or DUI charges in Arizona Criminal Court for Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Scottsdale, or Gilbert AZ DUI or Criminal Charges, you should consult the Law Office of James Novak. James Novak is a proven and experienced Arizona Criminal Defense and Phoenix DUI Attorney and Former AZ DUI & Criminal Prosecutor. He will provide you with a free initial and confidential consultation by phone or in person. You can discuss your Phoenix AZ charges, potential penalties, and defense options. Call today!
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AZ DUI & Criminal Defense Lawyer James Novak , Attorney at Law, Represents Clients for Defense of criminal & DUI Charges in Phoenix Criminal Courts, Mesa Criminal Courts, Tempe Criminal Courts, Scottsdale Criminal Courts, Chandler Criminal Courts, Gilbert Criminal Courts, Arizona Justice Courts and Arizona Superior Courts