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What Happens At An Arraignment?

The criminal justice system can be overwhelming. In addition to facing potentially life-altering charges, you might feel lost not knowing what you are up against.

I am Burnsville criminal defense attorney Howard Bass. For more than 30 years, I have aggressively defended clients in similar predicaments to yours. I understand the confusion that can stem from not knowing all the stages involved in criminal proceedings. I am here to protect your rights while providing you clear answers, including addressing what happens at an arraignment.

What You Can Expect At An Arraignment

If you have been accused of a misdemeanor or a petty misdemeanor, you will be arraigned in the Minnesota state court system. At the arraignment, the criminal charges against you will be read aloud and you will have the opportunity to plead either guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, the process will proceed to sentencing. If you plead not guilty to a misdemeanor, your case will be scheduled for a pretrial conference. If you plead not guilty to a petty misdemeanor, your case will be scheduled for a court trial.

Though defendants unable to afford private counsel in misdemeanor cases may be eligible to receive assistance from a public defender, defendants in petty misdemeanor cases have no such right. If you wish to receive representation in a petty misdemeanor case, you must hire a private attorney.

Protecting Your Right To A Formal Complaint

If you were given a ticket or a citation, you have the right to request a formal complaint at your arraignment. A formal complaint is a document that clearly explains the charges you are facing. If you have been taken into custody, prosecutors must provide this complaint within two days of your arraignment. If you haven’t been detained, that time frame is extended to 30 days. If the prosecution fails to meet either of these time limits, I will move to have the charges against you dismissed.

Contact my defense firm today so I can address your arraignment questions during a free initial consultation. I will take away all the guesswork so you can face the future from a position of strength.