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What Comes Next for Woman Arrested for Bank Robbery? Arraignment

As reported by the Sun-Sentinel, a Broward County woman was arrested on charges of robbery after hitting a credit union and bank in the Fort Lauderdale area. She is accused of stealing cash amounting to more than $4,000 over the two incidents, which occurred over a five-day period. In both cases, she was disguised with a wig and baseball cap and approached tellers with a note that said, “Don’t try anything stupid.” Still, the woman won’t immediately start serving time for robbery. In Florida, a person who is arrested and charged with a crime goes through the arraignment process. Though you should discuss the specifics of your case with a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer, here are the answers to some common questions about this proceeding.

What is an arraignment?

After an arrest, Florida law requires that you be arraigned in court. Typically, your arraignment may be days or weeks after your arrest; however, if police are holding you in custody, they are required to bring you to court within 24 hours of the arrest. The purpose of an arraignment is to inform you of the charges against you and ask you to respond to them with a plea. In court, you can expect the prosecuting attorney and a judge or judicial officer to be present. If you’ve hired an attorney or requested one to be appointed, your lawyer will also be in attendance.

What if I don’t get to appear in court within the designated time?

It is unlawful in Florida for law enforcement to hold you in custody for more than 24 hours before bringing you into the arraignment proceeding. The violation does not result in an automatic dismissal of your case, however. You must prove that the delay caused legal prejudice. An example where you may successfully argue prejudice might be where you gave a confession because you were induced by officers who told you that the delay would continue unless you admitted the crime.

How should I plead at my arraignment?

Acceptable pleas are guilty, not guilty, or no contest. The first two pleas are easy to understand, but it’s important to know what “no contest” means. This claim means that, while you admit to the facts involved, you do not admit to a crime. If you plead guilty or no contest, you’ll be given a date for sentencing – without any opportunity to present your defenses or to contradict the evidence of prosecutors. This is why, unless your lawyer advises you otherwise, you should always enter a plea of not guilty. A claim of not guilty will result in the setting of a trial date, where prosecutors will present evidence against you. At the trial, you are given the chance to provide evidence to counter their claims.

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

If you or a loved one has been charged with robbery and are facing arraignment, an experienced defense attorney like Kevin J. Kulik can advocate on your behalf and guide you through the criminal justice system. Contact Kevin J. Kulik today for a free and confidential consultation in the Fort Lauderdale area.

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