Criminal Defense Attorney's Role at Initial Appearance and Arraignment

The sooner you hire a competent Sugar Land criminal defense attorney, the sooner your attorney can get to work on your behalf at your initial appearance and arraignment.

Initial appearance

Although the purpose of an initial appearance is fairly nominal, it is a great chance for your Sugar Land criminal defense attorney to begin arguing in your favor. Your Sugar Land criminal defense attorney should:

  • Review the accusatory document, contest its adequacy if it does not set forth grounds for probable cause for your arrest, and contest your incarceration if you are not named in the accusation; and
  • Request your discharge on bail. Besides leading to your release, a bail contest may also force the prosecution to reveal incriminating evidence to support a significant bail demand.


At the arraignment, the prosecutor and the defense attorney often alert each other that they may present particular evidence or exercise civil rights. For example, the prosecutor might reveal your incriminating declarations or evidence of a positive identification. In addition, your Sugar Land criminal defense attorney might seek a preliminary hearing or demand that you appear before the grand jury.

Initial Appearance or Arraignment

The following tasks can be performed at either the initial appearance or arraignment:

  • Serving requests for discovery;
  • Demanding that the prosecution maintain certain evidence, such as telephone records, evidence samples, photographs of the scene;
  • Learning the identity of any witnesses that may have been present during the crime;
  • Beginning to develop a rapport with the arresting officer, finding out what the officer thinks about the victim's credibility, and learning whether the officer may be willing to dismiss the case or allow pre-trial diversion in exchange for restitution; and
  • Documenting your injuries if the police hurt you. Your attorney should have a third party witness photograph and describe your injuries. Your attorney should advise the court of your need for medical treatment if you are in jail, and make sure you receive medical treatment if you are out on bail.

If you or someone you love has been arrested, contact experienced Sugar Land criminal defense attorney John L. Venza Jr. at 281-971-5660.

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