Do I need a lawyer for an arraignment?

At your arraignment, the judge will advice you of your Constitutional rights, including the right to be represented by an attorney. While you do not necessarily need to have an attorney present at your arraignment, having one can be important in several ways.

First, your criminal defense lawyer Los Angeles, CA can counsel you on how to plea at this stage. While it is often advisable to plead “not guilty” at arraignment, in some situations, your attorney may advise you that it is better to plead guilty or no contest to avoid additional criminal charges for more serious offenses. Having a lawyer to explain these possibilities can help you make these types of strategic decisions.

Second, a lawyer could argue that your bail should be reduced or that you be released on your own recognizance at the arraignment. While you can certainly make these requests on your own, an attorney is generally better equipped to make the legal argument based on the standards that the judge will consider in making a bail decision.

Third, if there is a question about the legality of your arrest or an unlawful detainment, your attorney can make a challenge these matters in court. For example, if you were arrested on a misdemeanor charge without a warrant and are in custody at the time of arraignment, your criminal defense lawyer Los Angeles, CA can request a probable cause hearing for the judge to determine if there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and if you are the person who committed the crime.

Fourth, if there are any other motions pending, your attorney will have the opportunity to address them. For example, a restraining order may be pending in connection with a domestic violence charge. Your lawyer can make an argument against the restraining order at this time.

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