If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the Fairfax County General District Court, your first court appearance may be your arraignment. An arraignment or “advisement” hearing is the court’s opportunity to explain your charge, ask if you understand the charge, explain your right to an attorney and schedule your next hearing. Your next hearing will be your Information on Attorney date or “IAD.”
Your arraignment is waivable, so long as you hire an attorney in advance. If you hire our Fairfax criminal lawyers before your arraignment date, we will submit the necessary documents with the court to remove your arraignment from the docket. Because the purpose of an arraignment is to advise the defendant, he or she will not need to attend it once an attorney is hired. It is the criminal lawyer’s job to advise his or her client, which is why the court waives the arraignment.
You are not required to hire an attorney prior to your arraignment. If you choose to attend your arraignment pro se (without a lawyer), the judge will give you a deadline for you to hire an attorney. This deadline is a scheduled hearing known as your Information on Attorney date. The IAD is waivable if an attorney is hired beforehand.
It is important to note that some criminal cases in Fairfax do not have arraignments or IAD hearings. If the case is scheduled for Adjudicatory, the defendant must attend. Some common criminal and traffic cases in Fairfax that do not usually have an arraignment or IAD include petit larceny, assault & battery, reckless driving, and common traffic infractions. DUIs and felony charges, however, will always have arraignments and IAD hearings in Fairfax.
If you have a pending criminal or traffic offense in Fairfax, it is important to consult with the right attorneys prior to your first court appearance. Our Fairfax lawyers are available for free consultations 24/7: 703-542-3616.