It is easy to feel overwhelmed, confused, and nervous after an arrest in Utah, especially if you are a first offender. If you were charged with a criminal offense in Utah, you need to hire an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney. This is especially true if you have no idea what to expect or what your next steps should be. We can help you go through the criminal process after your arrest, including your arraignment. Our criminal defense attorneys from Overson Law, PLLC, explain what you should expect during and after your arraignment process in Utah.
Will I get Jail Time at My Arraignment in Salt Lake City?
If you were arrested and charged with a criminal offense such as an assault in Salt Lake City, you will likely be detained in jail while you go through the booking process. This process can take up to 72 hours to complete, depending on the circumstances of your arrest. After your booking ends, the police will transport you to the court where you will appear before a judge for your arraignment and your bail hearing – your initial hearing with the court. At this point, you are still under arrest.
After your initial appearance in court, you will be given a chance to post bail to prevent jail time while your case is pending. If you fail to post bail, you will remain in jail until your next court hearing. If you want to avoid jail, your Salt Lake City bail hearing attorney can help you.
What Happens During the Arraignment in Salt Lake City?
The arraignment is a critical component within the criminal process where you – the defendant – appear before a judge and get informed about your charges. Typically, after you are read your charges, the judge will ask you, “How do you plead?” to which you will answer “guilty” or “not guilty,” depending on your situation and if you entered into a plea deal with the prosecutor. However, you may have additional options available when asked about how do you plead.
The classic “guilty” answer in many arraignments acts as an admission of guilt, which will automatically lead to your sentencing. Generally, this is not ideal to do, unless you had worked on a plea deal along with your Utah criminal defense attorney.
Pleading “not guilty” is typically a better approach because it provides you with the opportunity to take your case to trial where you can better defend against your charges. Besides these to classical options, you can plead a “no contest,” which means you are not fighting your charges, but you will not admit guilt for them.
Many people believe the arraignment is a process designed to punish a defendant. However, in our criminal justice system, all defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise. The arraignment process is the way the criminal justice system protects your rights. Without elements such as the presumption of innocence and processes such as arraignments, defendants would face significantly biased and unfair processes against them. The arraignment process can help you learn about your charges, and it provides you with an opportunity to challenge them.
What Happens After My Arraignment in Salt Lake City?
After your arraignment ends – and if you plead not guilty – you will either remain in jail or be set free until your next court hearing (if you posted bail). It is critical to understand that pleading guilty will send you directly to sentencing because of your admission of guilt. Therefore, you must consult with your Salt Lake City attorney for criminal arraignments before making any statement.
If you decide to move on with your case, your lawyer, the prosecutor, and a judge will set a date for a preliminary hearing. This process is crucial as it may significantly impact your case. At this stage, the judge will examine the evidence in your case and determine whether to dismiss your charges or order the case to go to trial. At this point, your attorney can get a reduction on your charges.
If you are arrested and charged with a criminal offense in Utah, you can face severe penalties. Utah has two main types of criminal offenses: misdemeanors and felonies. If you are arrested, charged, and convicted of a misdemeanor, you can face up to a year in jail and $2,500 in fines (Class A misdemeanor). However, if you are convicted of a felony, you can face up to life in prison (or capital punishment, depending on the crime) and thousands of dollars in criminal fines.
As you can see, facing criminal charges is a serious matter requiring careful consideration of the circumstances of your case. Knowing the potentially-devastating consequences of a criminal conviction in Utah can help you understand the importance of your arraignment. If you plead not guilty, you send a clear message that you are willing to fight against your charges. However, if you hastily plead guilty without consulting with your attorney, you expose yourself to losing your freedom and paying steep fines. It is essential to consult with your criminal defense attorney before making any decisions during the arraignment process. Our Utah criminal defense attorneys can help you with this critical matter
Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorneys Offering Free Consultations
Facing criminal charges and going through Utah’s criminal justice system can be one of the most overwhelming experiences of your life. The consequences of a criminal conviction can be devastating. Our criminal defense lawyers from Overson Law, PLLC, have years of experience successfully defending clients during their arraignments in Utah. We will be with you every step of the way so you can understand what to expect from your case. If you decide to take your case to court, we will work tirelessly to defend your constitutional rights and fight to get your charges dismissed or downgraded. To learn more about our services in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (801) 758-2287.