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What to Expect at Your Arraignment May 17, 2023

Arraignment file and gavelIn the state of Florida, the arraignment remains a crucial stage in the criminal justice system. At the arraignment, the judicial officer will formally read the charges against the defendant and advise them of their constitutional rights. Also, the judge may ask the defendant to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If you’ve been arrested for committing a crime, hiring a highly-skilled criminal defense attorney is crucial to know how to prepare for your arraignment.  

At, we have the skill and diligence to direct and represent clients in their criminal cases. As your team, we can investigate your case, help you understand the different stages in the Florida criminal process, and what to expect at your arraignment. In addition, our attorney will outline a strong defense strategy to help fight your charges and keep your record clean. We’re proud to serve clients across Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, DeLand, Palm Coast, Port Orange, Flagler County, and Volusia County, Florida. 

What Is an “Arraignment?”

In many states, the arraignment is the initial appearance of the defendant in court after an arrest. However, in Florida, the “First Appearance” is the first time a defendant – who has been arrested and unable to post bond – will appear before a judge. The arraignment will occur after the first appearance. 

Furthermore, at arraignment, the judge will read the defendant of their charges and ask them to enter a plea of not guilty, guilty, or no contest (if allowed). The purpose of the arraignment is to let the defendant know the criminal charges they’re facing, understand their rights to an attorney, and submit a plea. Alternatively, the judge will appoint a public defender for an offender who wishes to be represented but is unable to afford a private attorney. 

Nature of Arraignment

According to Florida law – Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure Section 3.160 – here are the important components of an arrangement: 

  • It must be done in open court or using audio-video communication technology at the court’s discretion. 

  • A judge, clerk, or prosecutor must be present at the arrangement when the indictment or charges against the defendant is being read. 

  • The defendant will be called upon to enter a plea – guilty, not guilty, or no contest. 

A trusted criminal defense lawyer can enlighten you about when an arraignment will take place and help you prepare accordingly. 

When Will the Arraignment Take Place?

In Florida, the first appearance usually takes place within 24 hours of the arrest. However, the arraignment often takes place within 2 to 4 weeks after the arrest. In most cases, the arraignment will be scheduled within this period, whether or not the defendant is able to post bond. 

What Occurs at the Arraignment?

Here’s what to expect at a typical arraignment in the state of Florida:  

Inform You of Your Charges 

At the arraignment, the judge will read the formal charges against you. In most cases, this may be your first opportunity to hear the accusations against you or the charges you’ll be facing.   

Advise You of Your Rights to an Attorney 

In addition, the judge will advise you of your rights to an attorney at the arraignment. Generally, you have the right to hire your own legal counsel. However, if you’re unable to afford an attorney, the judge will appoint a lawyer from the Office of the Public Defender to handle your case. 

Enter a Plea 

Once the magistrate reads your charges to you at the arraignment, you will be asked to enter a plea. This may be a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If you enter a plea of guilty or no contest, the judge will issue a sentence immediately. Conversely, if you enter a plea of not guilty, the judge will set a date for pre-trial proceedings.   

Set Dates for Pre-trial Motions 

As mentioned earlier, if you plead not guilty to the charges against you, the judge will set dates for pre-trial proceedings, motions, future hearings, depositions, and conferences. The court may be able to rule on different issues regarding your case during the pre-trial proceedings. However, if the case is not settled, it will proceed to trial. 

Do I Need an Attorney for the Arraignment Process?

Once you’ve been arrested in Florida, you need to hire an attorney immediately. In fact, it is advisable that you attend the arraignment hearing with your legal counsel. Your lawyer can: 

  • Advise you on how to answer questions when asked by the judicial officer. 

  • Advise you about the right plea to enter for your personal situation. 

  • Ensure that your legal rights are well protected. 

  • Help file the necessary paperwork and documentation. 

In addition, your lawyer can affirm certain defenses and challenge the prosecution attorney’s statements and evidence against you. Above all, your lawyer can gather substantial evidence and help strategize a solid defense after the arraignment. 

Knowledgeable & Compassionate Counsel

Getting arrested and facing criminal charges in Florida can be a frightening experience. Nonetheless, knowing what to expect at the arraignment can help calm you down and make your case feel easier to manage. At, we provide aggressive representation and skilled legal direction to clients in their criminal cases.  

Using our broad knowledge, we can help you navigate the Florida criminal justice system and prepare you accordingly for your arraignment. Also, we have everything necessary to fight for your rights and represent you at every stage of the criminal court proceedings. With our strategic attorney on your side, you can anticipate the most favorable outcome in your case.  

Contact us at today to sit down with a reliable criminal defense attorney. 

Our practiced legal counsel has the understanding and strength you need to fight your charges. We’re proud to serve clients across Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Palm Coast, Port Orange, Flagler County, and Volusia County, Florida.