What happens at the first court hearing after charges are filed?

Many Charlotte area residents have found themselves on the other side of the law. Unfortunately, facing a criminal charge can be a serious matter and there are many complexities. If a person has been arrested for a crime, they may be confused by the process and not know what to expect. One of the first things that happens to a defendant is the arraignment.

The arraignment

The first hearing after charges are filed for a defendant is called the arraignment. At this court hearing a defendant will appear before a judge who will state the nature of the charges. At this time, a defendant will make their plea. In North Carolina, a defendant can plead guilty, not guilty, no contest or Alford plea.

Accepting the plea

The court will then make sure a defendant understands the charges against them before accepting the plea. The judge will determine if a defendant can be released on bail. Probable cause if the crime was a felony will also be examined.

Contacting an attorney

A person who has been arrested for a crime, whether it be a misdemeanor or a felony, may find a criminal defense attorney to be an invaluable resource. An attorney can walk their client through the complicated criminal justice process in North Carolina and represent their best interests at each stage. They understand that being arrested for a crime is scary and the risks are high. They will work tirelessly to protect their client’s legal rights and their future. The sooner a defendant speaks with an attorney the better the outcome.

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