Two types of arraignments in Ohio
1. A preliminary arraignment or initial appearance is a defendant’s first hearing before a judge or magistrate. In felony cases this usually occurs prior to indictment, when the accused is charged by complaint.
2. The formal arraignment in a felony case is after the grand jury has returned an indictment. At an arraignment on misdemeanor charges in municipal court, the defendant pleads guilty, not guilty, or no contest to the charges brought against him/her.
Also, the accused can ask for time to obtain a lawyer. If the accused has retained a lawyer, the lawyer will be present to deal with bond issues, speedy trial matters and jury trial request. It’s at this stage we like to be with our clients to maximize their options.
In a felony arrest, at the initial appearance normally a preliminary hearing is scheduled. Often clients hire us at the preliminary arraignment stage or when there is a warrant out for an individual’s arrest.
At the formal arraignment stage, the case is initiated by the grand jury’s returning an indictment. The return of an indictment signifies formal felony charges are now in place and things get really serious.
Preliminary Arraignments (Initial Appearance)
A bail commissioner or magistrate presides over a preliminary arraignment. At the preliminary arraignment, the defendant will receive a copy of the complaint. The preliminary arraignment is not an opportunity for the prosecutor to ask the defendant questions about the crime(s) with which the defendant is charged. Rather, the defendant will learn of the charge(s) against him/her and bail will be set. In fact, it’s not a good idea for you to speak with the prosecution or police without first seeking advice from a seasoned defense attorney since your words have no chance of helping you and certainly can hurt you.
At the preliminary arraignment stage, an experienced attorney is a crucial advocate for the defendant’s release on bail and in advocating for low or no bail.
Franklin County, OH: After the defendant is placed under arrest, the defendant will typically be brought before a judge. At the initial appearance, a judge sets bail, and in felony cases, schedules a preliminary hearing. In misdemeanor cases, upon a defendant’s not guilty plea, the case will be set for a pretrial before an assigned judge.
Pretrial is a critical stage in the process. When hired early, Attorney Sherman will protect your rights by being prepared with the facts and the law to best present your position to the prosecutor. At the formal arraignment stage, the case is initiated with the return of an indictment. Bail is again discussed and the case is then assigned to a judge for trial.
Counties surrounding Columbus, OH: Preliminary arraignments in counties outside of Columbus may not run 24/7, and the defendant will usually be arraigned in person at a magistrate’s courthouse. Thus, where a defendant is arrested in the evening hours, he/she will have to wait overnight for the preliminary arraignment.
However, where the defendant is arrested during the day, the wait time for preliminary arraignment usually is closer to a few hours. Also, in outlying counties, it is usually easier for an attorney to get an exact time for a hearing, thus, eliminating the need for you to wait in a holding cell. Again, this is another advantage to being represented by counsel early.
At a formal arraignment, a defendant will typically enter a plea of “not guilty.” Defendant does not usually plead guilty at a formal arraignment because a plea deal is not usually part of the formal arraignment process.
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