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Do I Need An Attorney For My Arraignment?


After a person is arrested and taken in for booking, the next step is arraignment. An arraignment is when a criminal suspect is taken before a judge for the first time. It is at your arraignment that you are informed about the charges against you. At your arraignment, the judge will advise of your constitutional rights, including the right to legal counsel and the right to a trial. Additionally, you will need to plead guilty or not guilty at your arraignment hearing.

If you were arrested and are scheduled to attend an arraignment hearing, you may be asking yourself, “Do I need an attorney for my arraignment?” While you are not legally required to have an attorney during your arraignment hearing, it is highly advisable that you retain an attorney to represent you during your arraignment. Hiring a criminal defense attorney for your arraignment can be beneficial in many ways.

Benefits of Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney for Your Arraignment

The first benefit of hiring a criminal defense attorney for your arraignment is that your attorney can advise you on how to plead. Choosing whether to plead guilty or not guilty during your arraignment might seem like a simple, straightforward thing, but the truth is that it is not. Deciding how to plead is not something you should do alone. You might think that the best thing to do is to plead “not guilty.” However, while in most cases it is advisable to plead “not guilty,” sometimes it may be advisable to plead “guilty.” A skilled attorney can assess the specifics of your case and advise you accordingly.

Second, if the judge sets bail during your arraignment hearing, an attorney can help argue that the amount set should be reduced. A skilled defense attorney can argue that the court should release you on your own recognizance. When you are released at your own recognizance, it means the court allows you to remain free pending your trial without having to post bail.

Third, in case there is a question about whether your arrest was legal, your defense attorney can bring up the issue during your arraignment. You may not know what constitutes a legal arrest, but an experienced criminal defense attorney does. For instance, if you were arrested without a warrant, an attorney can determine if the police had probable cause to arrest you. Probable cause is when an officer has a reasonable basis to believe that a crime is being committed or may have been committed. If the police didn’t have probable cause to arrest you, it could mean your arrest was illegal.

Fourth, if there are pending motions, hiring a criminal defense attorney for your arraignment will mean that your attorney can address those motions. For instance, if there is an order of protection pending in connection with a domestic violence charge, your defense attorney can make an argument against the order during your arraignment.

Lastly, when you hire a criminal defense attorney for your arraignment, you give yourself an opportunity to start working on a defense as early as possible.

Contact an NYC Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you were arrested and are scheduled to attend an arraignment hearing and are looking to hire a qualified attorney, look no further than our NYC criminal defense attorney, Mark I. Cohen. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.



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The New York Criminal Bar Association
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Avvo Reviews Mark L. Cohen


"... Mr. Cohen's effort... in everything he has done before the Court, is A-Plus... [R]ecently, in another case... [before me], the result he achieved for his client... was quite impressive." Honorable Kenneth M. Karas, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.


"So I have very sophisticated counsel here and, Mr. Cohen, [your client] is very fortunate in having you as his attorney, and I hope he appreciates that." – Quote from the Honorable Denise L. Cote, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.


"As Mark Cohen, a defense lawyer who has tried cases throughout the city and was a prosecutor in the Bronx, pointed out, there is a saying among defense lawyers in New York." – As provided in the New York Times City Room Blog.

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