what will happen to me in court?
I was charged with thief, criminal tools, and prohibition and I was wondering what will happen to me when I go to court.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: what will happen to me in court?
I am assuming this is your first court appearance on these charges. If so, then this hearing is called the arraignment. The purpose of the arraignment is to notify the defendant of the charges being brought against him or her and allow him or her to enter a plea.
From a practical standpoint, normally you will first go and sign in. At some point a prosecutor will likely speak to you about the charges and to see what you want to do. If you want to plead guilty to the charges, you will go in front of the judge to make your plea and receive your sentence. During the process the judge will ask you questions to make sure you understand what is going on and that you are entering your plea voluntarily. He or she will also advise you on the maximum penalties for the charges you are about to plead guilty to.
Other options when speaking with the prosecutor are to plead not guilty or to ask for a continuance so you can get an attorney. If you ask for a continuance, you will be given a new court date to come back for your arraignment. If you are eligible, you can speak with the public defender about representing you or you can seek a private attorney to hire. If you plead not guilty, you may have to fill out some forms or make your plea to the judge in open court. You will then get a new court date for either a trial or a pretrial. Usually a pretrial is an opportunity to talk with the prosecutor to resolve the case and avoid going to trial. Some courts schedule pretrials, others may not.
I always advise someone to either talk to an attorney before going to the arraignment or speak with a public defender as soon as possible. There can be a lot of consequences to a criminal conviction besides just jail and fines, such as drivers license suspensions or the inability to own a gun, that a lawyer can help explain to you.
I hope this helps. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me.
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