If you were recently arrested or given a ticket by the police, you’re next court date will be a first appearance or arraignment. So what happens at an arraignment in Nebraska courts? Read on and we’ll explain.
What is an Arraignment in Nebraska Criminal Court?
An arraignment is usually your first hearing in a criminal case. While there is some variation from county to county, the arraignment is where formal charges are read, rights are advised and a bond is set.
In some counties, your bond may have been set by the judge without you present, or it was set by a schedule. Either way, you will eventually have an appearance in court before the judge.
Once you are advised of the charges, penalties and your rights, the court will ask you to enter a plea. Unless you are dealing with something minor like a speeding ticket that you do not contest, it is best to plead “not guilty” at your arraignment.
What Happens at Your First Appearance?
Have you ever heard the saying hurry up and wait? The first thing you want to do is show up on time for your court date. Some courts have little tolerance for people that show up late.
It always best to check in at the Clerk of the Court’s window when you arrive. They will tell you what courtroom you need to be in and anything else you need to know.
Once you get to the courtroom, there is a good chance there will be several cases set for the same time. You could end up spending a lot of time waiting for your case to be called. The good news is that your actual arraignment hearing will be short.
Can You Plead Guilty at an Arraignment?
If you are charged with a felony in Nebraska, you will not be able to plead guilty at your first arraignment in county court. Not only is this not advisable for many other reasons, the main reason is that a plea of guilty in a felony case usually needs to be entered in the District Court.
Most small infractions like speeding tickets can be paid without showing up to court. You can check your citation to see if you can send in payment. If you are required to show up in court, it would be a advisable to either talk to an attorney or request a court appointed attorney at the hearing.
What Happens After the Arraignment?
During the arraignment, the court will enter your not guilty plea and set the case for the next hearing.
In simple misdemeanor cases, the next hearing may be a trial date. In other cases, the next date will be a status hearing where the parties will tell the judge whether or not the case is going to trial.
At the hearing, the court may ask you if you plan on hiring an attorney or if you can afford to hire an attorney. If you tell the court you can’t afford an attorney, they will ask you for more information. They will then determine if you qualify for a court appointed attorney.
If you don’t qualify for a court appointed attorney, you should hire one before your next hearing date. An attorney will be able to advise you of your rights and possible defenses you may have.
Even if you do not have any defenses, an attorney will help you navigate the court process and help you along the way.
If you’re worried about a court date coming up, check out our free chat to set up an initial consult or give us a call.