What to Expect at Your Arraignment

If you are arrested and formal charges are filed, the first court appearance you make is at your arraignment (and/or case management conference). This is the time you will enter your plea to the charge(s) against you, declaring if you plead guilty or not guilty. Typically you will be advised of the charges in writing via the Trial Information and Minutes of Testimony, which must be filed within 45 days of your arrest and appearance in front of the judge (right to speedy indictment). The arraignment usually is set a few weeks after that, depending on the county. More often than not, you will be arraigned in writing, via a signed document. It isn’t like the movies where you do it in open court. If there is a plea deal, that will be filed. If not, then typically your attorney will have you plead not guilty. This can vary depending on the particular case.

What is a speedy trial right?

According to the 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Iowa law, you have the right to a speedy trial. In Iowa, if you demand a speedy trial, then the State must bring you to trial within 90 days of the filing of the Trial Information. If you waive that right, trial must occur within one year of the arraignment, unless that right is waived.

What should I know before the arraignment?

Before your arraignment, you should discuss with your attorney the charges being brought against you and how you wish to plead. Your attorney will advise you about what the charges mean, how your plea will affect your case, whether you should be present at your arraignment/case management conference, or simply submit a Written Arraignment.

What is a Written Arraignment?

In Iowa, you can you file a Written Arraignment in lieu of arraignment in open court. Judges prefer this. The Written Arraignment will include some simple personal information, the charges against you, and your plea.

What happens next?

What happens after your arraignment depends on whether you plead guilty or not guilty. To discover what you can expect before or after your arraignment, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Request a consultation with criminal defense attorney, Adam Pollack, to learn more.

Request Consultation