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The Importance of The Pre-Arraignment Period

Aggressive Trial Attorney With a Reputation for Success

The period from the time of your arrest until the charges are filed is known as the pre-file or pre-arraignment period of your case.  And it is, in my opinion, one of the most important phases of a criminal prosecution because a good defense attorney who knows how to present facts and evidence to a prosecutor can potentially affect the State's decision to charge you or not charge you with a serious crime.

Don't wait until after your arraignment to hire an attorney.  If you are serious about getting your case resolved quickly and successfully, take full advantage of this 21-40 day period in which a prosecutor will review your case to determine whether enough evidence exists upon which to formally charge you with a crime.

In this period, a defense attorney can present defense witnesses to a prosecutor and can provide video footage or other evidence that a prosecutor who is conducting a pre-file investigation without the input of a defense attorney may otherwise not see.  If you are unrepresented during the initial phase of your criminal case, the prosecutor is effectively making a serious decision - the decision to charge you with a crime - without any information that may be helpful to you, the accused.

Imagine that the prosecutor only speaks with the alleged victim and the arresting officer, but not the three friends who were there and witnessed the entire event.  Wouldn't the outcome likely be different if the prosecutor had all the facts?

If you are arrested, your first call should be to an attorney.  Don't play wait and see with criminal charges.  Once charges are formally filed, it is much more difficult to get them dismissed once a prosecutor has conducted their initial investigation.  Of course it is possible, but wouldn't you rather get it done quickly if you can?

Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County.