Tulsa Attorney BlogArraignment: Stage #3 in an Oklahoma Misdemeanor Case

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Video Transcribed: Stage three in an Oklahoma misdemeanor is the arraignment. I’m Oklahoma attorney James Wirth, we’re about to talk about misdemeanor arraignments. Alright so at an arraignment, you’ve got to appear and essentially it’s an opportunity where you get the formal information.

That’s the official charging documents. You get a copy of that, formally it would be read to you and then you would verify that the information, the identifying information, name, date of birth, social security number, those types of things are correct. That in we’ve got the right person here as far as who we’re trying to charge.

That’s the official way. In practice, really it’s just an opportunity for you to acknowledge that you’re aware of the charges, for you to promise to appear at the next court date, and for the court to make sure that you’ve got an attorney. Which brings us to the next point and that is at the arraignment, if you have an attorney and it’s a misdemeanor, pursuant to Oklahoma law, your attorney can appear for you.

You don’t even have to appear on that court date because all that really happens is you enter a plea of not guilty and then you get to the next court date. So if you have an attorney, that’s one thing that we offer for all of our clients for the misdemeanor, it’s a lot easier for us to get in and out quickly, save you the trouble for having to appear at that arraignment.

The other thing that happens at arraignment though, like I talked about, it’s the court is going to ensure that you have representation. If you don’t have an attorney and you show up to the arraignment without an attorney, the court is going to ask you about your ability to get an attorney and how long it’s going to take you to get funds together to hire an attorney.

It’s common for defendants to ask for additional time, it’s common for the courts to grant additional time because the public defender’s office is very busy working on all of their cases. Anybody that can get a private attorney, that’s going to be recommended.

So if you can afford one, then they’re not going to give you a public defender, but they will probably give you a couple passes if necessary for you to raise funds to get a private attorney to show up, to handle the arraignment so they can move you on to the next stage.

Now the risk is if you keep showing up on the arraignment docket without an attorney and the court determines that you can afford your own attorney, then you’re running into a danger because at that point the court may get tired of continuing it and the court’s going to say, usually you get a warning, but not always come back next time with an attorney or you are going into custody.

Now how does the court puts you into custody when you haven’t been convicted of anything? Essentially the court is revoking your bond and saying that you violated some of the conditions on your bond because you didn’t follow the court’s orders.

Whatever the case may be, that gets you in custody. You want to avoid that circumstance. So if you can’t afford an attorney, get one, have them appear for you.

Save your trouble, you can go to work, do what else do you need to do. Let the attorney do his or her job by appearing for you at the arraignment.

If you can’t afford an attorney, then you fill out a pauper’s affidavit, file it with the court, demonstrate to the court that you cannot afford an attorney, and requested a public defender be appointed for you. So that’s generally what happens on the arraignment docket.

That is the third stage of an Oklahoma misdemeanor. If you’re dealing with a misdemeanor, you’re going to want specific facts regarding your case. You’re going to want to consult with an experienced attorney to talk with somebody at my office, the Wirth Law Office. Go to makelaweasy.com.

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