Yes, you do need an attorney for an arraignment. A criminal defense attorney at your arraignment helps protect your rights and begin preparing your defense.
An arraignment seems like a simple hearing – you plead not guilty and you request the next hearing, usually a pretrial hearing or a probable cause hearing. But you still need an attorney.
The Commonwealth could ask that you be held in jail at the arraignment, so a criminal defense attorney is necessary to fight for your release.
Arraignments can sometimes require specific defenses to be asserted, or they’re waived – such as double jeopardy, mental defect defenses, or problems with the indictment. Without a lawyer, these defenses can be waived permanently.
Furthermore, between arraignment and the next hearing, you will need a criminal defense attorney to investigate your case and research possible defenses. Otherwise, at the status hearing, you could be presented with an offer without knowing your chances at trial to defeat the case.
You should hire an attorney as soon as possible to make sure your defense can hit the ground running. The District Attorney has been investigating your case since your arrest, and your defense attorney should be able to keep up. Otherwise, your defense will be behind.
For example, security camera footage, cell phone data, and other good evidence for your defense will be lost if you do not hire a criminal defense attorney immediately after your arrest to secure this data and make sure you can present it. Most security camera footage is deleted after a few days, for example.
If you’ve been arrested, you need to hire a criminal attorney as soon as possible. Contact me, and let’s get started on your defense and investigating possible defenses. If you need a criminal defense lawyer who will fight for you, call me now and set up a consultation at (617) 295-7500. My main office is in Boston, but we handle criminal defense matters in all Massachusetts courts.