Important Steps and Considerations
Hi, I’m Oklahoma City Attorney Aaron Easton, and that’s the question we have before us today. So an arraignment is the first formal court hearing you have after an arrest for a misdemeanor crime in Oklahoma. And a couple of pretty important things happen there.
One of those things is a judge is going to determine whether or not you have the ability to retain private counsel, or whether you will be adjudicated to be indigent and be appointed a public defender. If you feel like you’re not able to afford a private attorney, the judge will have you fill out what’s called a pauper’s affidavit and make that determination.
If the judge determines that you are able to hire a private attorney, and you don’t feel like you’re able to right away, they will usually give you a pass to a future arraignment docket in order to give you time to do that. But it’s something you’re gonna wanna do as quickly as possible.
What Happens During the Arraignment Process?
The other thing that happens at an arraignment is the purpose of it really, is the state presents the formal information, the charging document against you, stating formally the charges that you are gonna be tried for. And it gives the court opportunity also to verify your personal information as well.
Now, one of the good aspects of having a private attorney on your side prior to your arraignment is under Oklahoma Statute 22, Section 452, you don’t actually have to appear in person on a misdemeanor charge. You still would on a felony charge. But on the misdemeanor, the statute says it’s unnecessary for the defendant to appear in person. And if they’ve retained counsel, counsel can appear on their behalf.
Why Having a Private Attorney is Beneficial
This is a great little bonus because, as we all know, just because you’re going through a circumstance where you’ve been arrested on a misdemeanor doesn’t mean that the rest of your life ceases to exist. You still have work, you still have school. There are things you probably need to do and not appearing on that arraignment date and having somebody there on your behalf to advocate really is a bonus for you.
So that’s basically what happens on an arraignment. You’ll get another court date at that point to continue on the process. And then your attorney will start working with the state to get some information from there. But the arraignment, that’s what it’s about.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you have questions specific to you about an arraignment process or anything in general regarding crimes in the Oklahoma City area, you need to speak to an attorney privately and confidentially about your specific circumstances. And you can reach somebody at my firm at (918) 932-2833.