There can be circumstances that simply make it impossible or impractical to be physically present at a scheduled criminal arraignment hearing. Health and distance are two common reasons, but there may be others as well. In misdemeanor cases, some Utah courts will accept a written waiver of the right to a formal arraignment. Some judges may also allow a “remote” appearance by phone or video, or may allow your attorney to appear in court on your behalf.
Quick Questions & Answers
- Do I have to appear in person at an arraignment? In most Utah courts, the judge will expect the defendant to appear in person at an arraignment hearing. If you ignore and skip a scheduled arraignment, the court will likely issue a warrant for your arrest. However, sometimes a court will accept a waiver of the formal arraignment or may allow a defendant to appear remotely or through counsel. Your attorney can help explain your options.
- What is the first felony court hearing in Utah? The first hearing in a misdemeanor criminal case is normally the "arraignment" hearing, where the judge will read the charges formally filed in the case and ask the defendant to enter plea of either guilty or not guilty. In Utah felony cases, the arraignment does not occur until after the case has been "bound over" for trial in the district court. The first felony court hearing is sometimes referred to simply as an "initial appearance" or "felony first hearing."
- Is a preliminary hearing required in misdemeanor cases? A preliminary hearing ("preliminary examination" under the Utah State Constitution) is an opportunity for the court to determine whether the prosecution has enough evidence to justify moving the case forward to trial. If the court finds that the evidence establishes probable cause to believe that a charged crime has occurred and that the defendant is the person who committed the crime, the judge (acting as magistrate) will enter a "bindover" order requiring further proceedings moving toward trial. A preliminary hearing ("examination") or a waiver by both parties is required in all felony cases, and also in any class A misdemeanor…
- What is the difference between a living will and a living trust? Although the two terms are similar, they refer to very different estate planning tools. A living will allows a person to state end-of-life medical care preferences and to name a person who act on their behalf if they are no longer able to speak for themselves. A living will in Utah is normally included as part of an advance health care directive. A living trust is created during your lifetime and can be used both to hold and manage assets during your lifetime and to manage and distribute assets to others after your death.
- Will a prosecutor make an offer at the arraignment? In justice court misdemeanors, prosecutor's are sometimes prepared to make a plea offer to resolve a case at the arraignment hearing. Often, however, the prosecutor has not had an opportunity to thoroughly review the case materials and is therefore not ready to make an offer. In some justice courts, prosecutors may not even be present at the arraignment. Regardless, it is best to consult with an experienced defense attorney before accepting any offer to resolve a criminal case.