Your arraignment is the first court appearance on a misdemeanor criminal charge. In Maine, misdemeanors are classified as Class D and E crimes.
At this point you have been charged with a crime, but are presumed innocent. At your arraignment you will be required to watch a video explaining all of your rights. The judge will likely ask you if you understand your rights before he or she excepts your plea. You have a variety of important rights, and it’s important that you watch the video to fully understand these rights. If you have any questions, please make sure you consult a qualified Maine criminal defense attorney before entering a plea.
You will be called in front of the Judge at your arraignment and asked to enter a plea. It is recommended that you plead not guilty unless you have spoken with a criminal defense lawyer and analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Often, a representative from the District Attorney’s Office will make you an offer to resolve your case at the arraignment, and claim it is the best offer you are going to get. That claim is not always true, and you should always consult with a criminal defense attorney before pleading guilty.
The arraignment is a mandatory court date, unless you hire a criminal defense attorney to enter a “not guilty” plea on your behalf, and waive your appearance at court. It is advantageous to speak with an attorney as soon as you are charged with a crime, so they can begin working on your defense as soon as possible.
The arraignment is a critical stage of the criminal process. Don’t delay in consulting an attorney. Often cases are won or lost in the early stages of the process. Contact Attorney Eric Thistle for a free consultation today.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide general information about Maine law. The publication of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.