Following federal arrests, individuals are arraigned on their charges. An arraignment is where a judge announces the charges that a person faces and formally charges them, determines whether an individual will be released on bail or not, and will announce the official trial date. Local arraignments take place in Greenbelt and in Baltimore. During an arraignment, an individual can enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Pleas in Maryland federal arraignments are important and often determine what the court and the defense attorney’s next steps will be. If you have been charged with a federal offense, speak with a capable federal attorney that could help you decide what kind of plea deal works best for you.
While arraignments are similar in state court, the federal arraignment is more thorough and the federal judge conducts a much deeper evaluation of an individual’s background and their potential risks upon release. In federal court where a person is released pre-trial, there is significantly more supervision than in state court. The timeframe in federal court between arraignment and trial date is much longer and the supervisions requirements are more intensive. There is more communication with the supervising agent, more meetings, and more documentation of the person’s activity and conduct when they are released.
The principles are the same with the federal and state case. The person must stay in touch with a supervising agent, stay out of trouble, and do all the things they are supposed to do. The supervision is more through and intensive, and the conditions are stricter in federal court.
One of the pleas in Maryland federal arraignments that a person can enter, is a not-guilty plea. When a person pleads not guilty, it means they do not accept responsibility and reject the government’s allegations. The case proceeds at that point and moves to a trial unless the government decides to drop the case. The case proceeds to a trial and if the person maintains a not guilty plea, it is up to a judge or a jury to adjudicate the case and come to a decision. There are certain benefits and drawbacks to entering a not-guilty plea, and an attorney could explain them to an individual.
A guilty plea is acceptance of the allegations that can be awarded differently. As part of the guilty plea, the government asks a person to accept responsibility. That means they the person accepts that the government can prove the case and the person accepts responsibility for the conduct underlying the charges that they did do the crime. They are guilty in the common understanding of the term. The potential legal consequences are jail or prison time, fines, probation, or supervised probation after a period of incarceration. There are also collateral consequences such as the conviction’s effect on the person’s job, their employment prospects, their education options.
A conviction goes on the person’s record for the rest of their life. Depending on the personal situation, the consequences may be more severe than the legal penalty. A person may not face any jail time. They may be able to afford to pay any fines, fees, and court costs. However, depending on their employment, the conviction can have severe consequences. It could limit their job prospects significantly. In the Washington, DC area where many people work in government, security clearances can be significantly affected based on the charges. The collateral consequences are important, in addition to the direct effects of a sentence. If a person is incarcerated or is on probation, the effects can be significant. If an individual wants to know more about pleas in Maryland federal arraignments and the consequences that they could face following an arraignment, they should speak with a capable attorney that could answer their questions.