What happens after I have been arrested?
Often times people are unsure of the procedure or how the court process works after they have been arrested. Assuming that you are given some type of bond and post it after your arrest, the jail will provide you with your first court date, which is your arraignment. If you plan on hiring private counsel, it is wise to consult with them prior to your arraignment so that they can file a notice of appearance on your behalf and waive your arraignment, which means you would not have to attend that court date. If you have not retained counsel prior to your arraignment, you MUST attend or the court will issue a failure to appear and will likely revoke your bond. If you go to your arraignment, having not hired private counsel, the court will inquire as to whether your wish to use the services of the Public Defender. If you qualify financially, the court will appoint a Public Defender on your case. Procedurally, the arraignment date is when the State formally charges you with what law(s) they believe you have broken based upon your initial arrest. At the arraignment the court will also announce your next court date which in county court (for misdemeanor charges) is called your plea day and it is typically a month or so out from your arraignment date. In circuit court (for felony charges) the next court date is called docket day and it is typically a couple of months out from your arraignment. In between your arraignment and your docket day, your attorney conducts discovery, takes depositions, negotiates plea offers and files any legal motions that might be available on your behalf. Assuming the case is not resolved via dismissal prior to plea/docket day, it is your decision at that point based upon discussion with your attorney/advice from your attorney, whether or not you would like to accept a negotiated plea offer or take your case to trial. If you have any further questions about the court process or other matters involving a crime you have been accused of, please contact me at Ferry & Ferry and I will gladly provide information based upon my 18 years of experience practicing criminal defense.
Chris Ferry, Attorney at Law