Why a Bridgeport CT Lawyer Should Help at Your Arraignment

Why a Bridgeport CT Lawyer Should Help at Your Arraignment

When law enforcement arrives with an arrest warrant, it initiates several different events. The person accused of a crime is read his or her rights and placed under arrest. Upon arrival at the county jail, the defendant is processed and booked by the police department. As part of the intake process, the defendant is fingerprinted, photographed, and completes other procedural requirements. You will have the opportunity to contact a Bridgeport CT lawyer at this time.

Once a defendant is “booked,” the criminal court will set a date and time for arraignment. In Connecticut, your arraignment will be held on the business day following your arrest.

For example, if you are arrested on a Tuesday, your arraignment will be on Wednesday. However, if you are arrested on a Friday, then the court can wait to hold your arraignment until Monday. This turnaround time is required by law in Connecticut and is a protection of your due process rights.

As arraignment approaches, many defendants wonder, “Do I need a Bridgeport CT lawyer at this hearing?” The answer is yes and for these compelling reasons.

A Defendant Must Enter a Plea at Arraignment

Arraignment is the first court appearance after an arrest, and while most arraignments are handled in an efficient manner, it is a serious event. There will be a judge on the bench, a prosecutor opposing the defendant, and for individuals prepared to make a robust defense, a Bridgeport CT lawyer representing the defendant.

As part of this formal hearing, the defendant is required to enter a plea before the court. A defendant in Connecticut can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. While a Bridgeport CT lawyer is likely to recommend a plea of not guilty at arraignment, this isn’t always the appropriate response. In some instances, it is advantageous to accept a plea bargain from the prosecutor or enter a plea of no contest.

How do you know what plea is in your best interest? You need to speak with a Bridgeport CT lawyer about the specific facts of your case before arriving at your arraignment.

Prosecutors Can Offer a Plea Bargain At or Before Arraignment

Most criminal trials in the United States, including those in Bridgeport, Connecticut, end in a plea bargain. It is estimated that the percentage of federal cases settled before trial is up to 94% and the percentage of state cases isn’t drastically different.

While this may indicate that considering and accepting a plea bargain is in the best interest of most defendants this simply isn’t true. Taking a plea bargain before or at arraignment without the advice of an experienced Bridgeport CT lawyer could be disastrous for your future. Settlement through plea bargains continues to rise for a number of reasons.

First, public defenders are overwhelmed with cases and want to clear cases off their caseload as quickly as possible, which makes a great argument for hiring a private Bridgeport CT lawyer.

Second, defendants that don’t seek legal advice are persuaded by prosecutors to sign a plea bargain before they ever enter a courtroom. While this isn’t a violation of your rights, it could be a mistake for your future. Prosecutors use many tactics to elicit a plea bargain, including fear, creating doubt in the mind of the defendant, and threatening a longer sentence at trial. You can avoid the pressure of these tactics by ensuring a Bridgeport CT lawyer is on your team.

Bail Is Set at Arraignment

Once a plea is entered, the court moves onto the topic of bail. What is bail?

Following arraignment, it could be days, weeks, or even months until your criminal trial commences. Typically, a defendant is held required to remain in jail or prison while awaiting this trial. The exception is when the defendant is able and willing to pay a specified amount of money, in exchange for his or her release from jail.

This payment is made as a guarantee that you will appear on your court date. When you do appear in court, the money is returned. The money paid for this guarantee is called bail.

The amount of bail fluctuates on a case-by-case basis. There are several factors that can influence the amount requested by the prosecutor and accepted by the court. These factors include the severity of the crime, the potential for flight risk, and the defendant’s financial capacity. Another important factor is whether or not an argument for lower bail is offered on a defendant’s behalf. This is where a Bridgeport CT lawyer can add real and quantifiable value to an arraignment.

Contact a Bridgeport CT Lawyer

If you need a Bridgeport CT criminal lawyer to represent you at arraignment, don’t hesitate to call Alexander Schwartz, Attorney at Law. Our local office in Connecticut is available 24/7 to schedule a consultation or arrange for representation at an arraignment. Simply call (203) 255-9829.


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