What a Defense Lawyer Should do During Arraignment and Plea Bargaining

The term “Arraignment” refers to the arraignment that occurs before a judge at a criminal trial. Arraignment may also refer to a preliminary hearing before the criminal court system. In most jurisdictions, defendants go before a judge and plead guilty or no contest to a criminal charge prior to the judge taking any other action.  Despite its name, the term “arraignment” is not mandatory in all jurisdictions. Certain types of crimes carry a mandatory minimum sentence for which there is no exception for the defendant.

In other words, if you plead “guilty” to a crime, you are agreeing to serve the maximum mandatory sentence.  Plea-Bargaining is an integral part of plea-bargaining, and you should avoid pleading guilty if it can be avoided. If you find yourself in a situation where you are in need of legal counsel, you should request a free consultation with a local criminal defense lawyer before you plead guilty. This type of consultation will help you assess your legal needs.

Depending on the nature of your crime, your defense lawyer may agree to try the case for a reduced charge. Typically, an average criminal defense lawyer  can help you reduce the sentence if the facts support the reduced charge. However, it is advisable to consult with a criminal defense lawyer before making such a decision, as the process of reduction is not easy.

Plea-bargaining does not always work, but if you are able to convince your attorney that your case can be resolved, the defendant is given the benefit of a reduced sentence. If the case can be reduced to a misdemeanor, a misdemeanor may be sought. However, plea-bargaining can also reduce the penalty to a non-criminal violation that can still result in a jail sentence.

The manner in which the plea-bargaining process is handled is one of the most important factors that affect the outcome of the case. If your case is handled improperly, the outcome could end up in favor of the prosecution.  While the defendant is involved in a formal trial and debate, the defense lawyer can do little to influence the outcome. The guilty verdict, therefore, is primarily driven by the prosecutor.

Unless the evidence supporting the plea-bargaining claim is overwhelming, the criminal defense lawyer has little power to change the outcome of the case.  If the plea-bargaining involves the right, the criminal defense lawyer should advocate on your behalf. On the other hand, if the plea-bargaining claim seems to lack merit, the defense lawyer should avoid taking the case.