Brooklyn, NY asked in Criminal Law, Constitutional Law and Federal Crimes for Maine

Q: How long does 1st appearance in Maine take? Can you go to bathroom in the middle? At what point are you considered done?

1 Lawyer Answer
William T. Bly
William T. Bly
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Kennebunk, ME
  • Licensed in Maine

A: There is a difference between an initial appearance and an arraignment. An initial appearance is reserved for felony charges. At that hearing, the judge will discuss the charges with you, ensure you understand the maximum penalties allowed by law (if convicted), set bail (if not already set) and give you a new court date. It doesn't usually take more than 5 minutes. 10 max.

Arraignments are different. At the arraignment, the judge will not only read to you the charge, but he/she will take your plea of guilty or not guilty. The arraignment process is lengthy, but not because of your particular case. Instead, it is a lengthy process where you have to watch a looooong video that explains to you all of your legal rights. You MUST be present for the entire video or the judge won't take your name. In addition, the judge has a long list of defendants to get through after the video and depending on what your last name starts with, you might be waiting for an hour or more. So, going to the bathroom ahead of time is probably a good idea.

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