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Understand what happens during your arraignment hearing

During a criminal prosecution, defendants are given a chance to inform the court how they plead to the charge. This is usually "not guilty," but some people choose to plead guilty if they know that they committed the crime and don't see any reason to prolong the process. The defendant's plea is heard by the court in the arraignment.

A few things happen during the arraignment hearing for which you need be prepared ahead of time. The court is going to read the charges against you as official notification. It is important to listen carefully during this part of the hearing since the exact charges may play a role in how you decide to plead.

You will be asked if you have an attorney. This is the part of the criminal justice process during which some defendants are appointed a public defender by the court. If you are able to afford your own counsel, this doesn't apply.

You will be asked to plead to the charges read against you. The two most common pleas are "guilty" and "not guilty." There is a third option, "no contest," that may be applicable in your situation. Once your plea is entered, the court will take a look at the bail amount that was previously ordered. In some cases, defendants might be released on their own recognizance.

The decisions you make during your arraignment can impact the outcome of your criminal case. Be sure that you speak to your attorney prior to entering the plea so that you fully understand the options and can make an informed choice about which is best for you.

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An Award-Winning LawyerFirm founder Dustin R.T. Sullivan has been recognized as one of the leading attorneys in North Carolina. His accolades include:

  • Super Lawyer2017 Rising Star in DWI Defense Super Lawyers of North Carolina
  • Superior DUI Attorney 20162016 Superior DUI Attorney ranking for fourth consecutive year by the National Advocacy for DUI Defense
  • Super Lawyer | Dustin R.T. Sullivan | Selected In 20172016 Public Service Award for Legal Aid of North Carolina
  • 10 Best 2017 | Attorney | Client Satisfaction 2015 10 Best Client Satisfaction Award by the American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys
  • NAFLA2015 Top 10 Ranking by the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys
    • Top Rated On AVVO
    • Review Dustin R.T. Sullivan | Avvo
    • Top Contributor Award 2014 | Dustin R.T. Sullivan | Avvo
    • Avvo Rating 10.0 | Dustin R.T. Sullivan | Top Attorney
    • 2014 Top 100 Attorneys in North Carolina by the National Advocacy for DUI Defense
    • nafdd
  • StarNews Media | Finalist for Best Attorney2013 Finalist for Best Attorney in Cape Fear region by Wilmington Star News
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3490 Old Ocean Highway
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Bolivia, NC 28422

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