When you are going through a court case, you should learn about the options you have when you go to each hearing. When the case you have is a criminal matter, you have to be sure you fully understand your options.
The arraignment process is one that is very complex for some people to understand. Not only do you have to decide how you are going to plead to the charges placed against you, you also have to know some basic points about the charges.
Know the key points of the charge
Every criminal charge has specific points that must be present. You can compare the requirements for the allegations against you, as well as the evidence the prosecution is using. Knowing what points must be present in your case can help you to decide on how you will handle the arraignment.
Understand your plea options
Many people think they can only plead guilty or not guilty in these cases. This isn’t true. Some plea options are conditional, which means that you only agree to plead a specific way if certain conditions are met. Another option is to plead nolo contendre. This option requires court approval. If you don’t enter a plea at the hearing, the court will automatically enter a not guilty plea for you.
At every step of your case, you might have questions. Getting these questions answered has to be a priority. You should make sure that you don’t make any decisions about your case until you understand all the options and how each option can affect your case and your future.
Source: West Virginia Judiciary, “Rules of Criminal Procedure,” accessed April 20, 2017