Arraignments

In the unfortunate chain of events that occurs after one is arrested, he is eventually brought to the courthouse for arraignments.  Arraignments is the first time the arrested person will meet his attorney and the judge.

At this stage, a defendant will meet and speak to his attorney.  If he cannot afford an attorney, then the Court will appoint an attorney for him (i.e. Legal Aid or 18-B attorneys).  The defendant will be held in a cell behind the arraignment courtroom and that is where his attorney will meet him.  The attorney will let the defendant know what he is being charged with.  The attorney will read from a complaint which will state all the facts for the arrest according to the police.  At this point, the defendant will know if he is charged with a violation, misdemeanor, felony or any combination of them.  This is the defendant’s chance to tell the attorney his side of the story.

Now, the defendant will be ready to see the judge.  At this time, the court officer will call the defendant’s case and the defendant will be brought out to stand before the judge.  Here, the District Attorney (the government’s attorney) will give notices to the defendant and also request that the judge set bail.  The defendant’s attorney will then be given the chance to speak.  The attorney will present a bail application in an attempt to convince the judge to release the defendant on his own recognizance (ROR) or to set a lower bail.  This is also when the defense attorney can make an argument to have all or some of the charges dropped.

In the best case scenario, the judge will decide to ROR the defendant.  In that case, the defendant will be able to walk out of the courthouse on his own without having to pay bail, under the condition that he will return on his own for the next court date.  If the judge sets bail, then the defendant will be taken back into the cells until he pays the bail or someone pays the bail for him.  If the defendant cannot pay the bail, then he will remain in jail until his next court date.  If he makes bail, then he will be released under the condition that he returns on the next court date.  If he does not return, then the bail money will be forfeited to the city.

Arraignments is the beginning of the court process in every defendant’s case and it is a very crucial step to the process.  But be forewarned that this is a process.  You and your loved one may be sitting there for hours before having your case called only to see that the actual arraignment will take less than five minutes.  Having an attorney will make the process go as smoothly as possible. So remember to be patient and remain positive.

 

當不幸事件發生而被逮捕之後,被告是會被帶到法院傳訊。傳訊程序即是第一次被告將會見他的律師和法官。

在這個階段上,被告將與他的律師見面及談話。如果被告負擔不起律師費用,法庭將委任他的律師(即法律援助或 18-B 律師)。被告將被拘留在提審法庭後面一個囚室裡,辯方律師就會在這囚室裡與被告談話。辯方律師將詳細講解被告人的案件及將會被起訴的罪行。辯方律師將會讀出投訴事件及列出所有警方控訴資料。從這一刻開始,被告就會知道他將會被起訴的罪行,如果他被指控違反,輕罪,重罪或其他組合罪行。這是被告與他的律師討論及詳述這控訴事件的最好機會。

現在是時侯被告將被安排與法官會面。法庭工作人員將會傳審被告案件,而被告將被帶到法官面前。地區檢察官當時(政府律師)會向被告發出通知,並要求法官設定保釋金額。辯方律師將被給予發言的機會。辯方律師將會提交保釋金申請表及試圖說服法讓被告作自簽擔保(ROR)或降低保釋金額。這亦是辯方律師的最好機會去作辯論及要求罪名徹消或減輕。

在最理想的情況下,法官會决定讓被告作自簽擔保(ROR)。在這種情況下,被告將可走出法院而無需支付保釋金,唯一條件是被告會在指定日期返回法庭接受審訊。如果法官决意設保釋金額,被告將被帶回入囚室直到他支付保釋金或有人替他支付保釋金。如果被告無能支付保釋金,他將會被拘留在囚室內直到下次的審訊日期。如果被告能夠保釋外出,唯一條件亦是被告會在指定日期返回法庭接受審訊。如果被告沒有在指定日期返回法庭接受審訊,市政府將會沒收保釋金。

傳訊過程對被告來說是法院審訊程序的開始亦是最關鍵性的步驟。請先理解這是一個過程。你和你所愛的人可能會坐上幾個小時之後才被傳審,而實際的傳審過程將不超過五分鐘。在一名有經驗的律師陪同下,他將會盡量使這個過程順利通過。請記住,你們一定要保持耐性和積極的態度。

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