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What is arraignment?

Tampa criminal defense attorneys are often asked about arraignment because it is one of the first things in the criminal prosecution of someone in Florida.  Arraignment is essentially the beginning of the criminal process.  I have often explained to individuals it is essentially the “play button” of a criminal prosecution, it is the formal, actual beginning.  It’s primary purposes are to announce the formal charges against the defendant in a criminal case and an opportunity for a defendant to enter a formal plea.

Obviously, if a criminal defense attorney is doing their job, their client should already have an idea of what they are being charged with, so this certainly will not be a surprise.  At Hackworth Law, we take pride in sitting down with our clients and specifically explaining the charges against someone, why we believe they were charged with those specific charges, etc.

Secondly, the overwhelming majority of defendants enter a plea of “not guilty.”  This plea is entered because it gives Tampa criminal defense attorneys an opportunity to investigate potential legal or factual defenses and/or negotiate a better plea bargain for their client.  While many individuals simply want to get it over with, this simply just does not work well for many individuals, especially those with criminal backgrounds.  Often times, they throw themselves to the mercy of the court, which can lead to dire consequences.

In Florida, arraignment also plays an important chapter in a criminal defendant’s speedy trial rights. We discuss speedy trial rights elsewhere on our blog.  Many, many times criminal defendants waive their speedy trial rights at arraignment in an effort to be able to better prepare for their criminal case or to give them more time to negotiate with the State Attorney’s Office.

If you have any questions concerning arraignment or the Florida criminal process, contact the Tampa criminal defense attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultations.  We have extensive experience regarding the Florida criminal process and are more than happy to discuss it with you to help you through the confusing process.  We appreciate your time in reviewing our blog.