Often times, yes there is. At arraignment (which is very early in a criminal case) the state usually has done very little investigation. In other words, they might not have any idea what really happened.
Usually the state has completed a pre-filing investigation (PFI) where they talk to the witnesses and police officers involved. (At this point, they will likely not have talked to any defense witnesses.) Based upon the limited pre-filing investigation, the prosecutor will determine if there is enough to go forward with criminal charges.
Remember that to arrest a person and charge him or her with a crime, all that is needed is probable cause that a crime was committed (which is a very low standard). However, to convict one of a crime, the prosecutor will ultimately need to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt (a very high standard). So, when considering filing charges, prosecutors will sometimes consider whether they believe they can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The prosecutor will usually ask for jail at arraignment if the case involves the following:
(1) A defendant with a tremendous criminal history, and/or
(2) a particularly egregious (bad) set of facts in the police report, and/or
(3) a victim that is complaining and is exerting pressure on the prosecutor.
A very important point to realize is that, at arraignment, the prosecutor usually knows very little as to what actually took place. For example, it is very common for a police report regarding a battery case to be very egregious—often the police will entirely leave out any mitigating (helpful) evidence related to the defendant and only include the facts that tend to make the defendant look bad.
However, there is always two sides to a story, and oftentimes the prosecutor has no idea what the defendant's side of the story is. The attorneys at our criminal defense law firm have dealt with countless cases that appeared to be very bad after reading the police report but later, after investigating and speaking with the defendant and witnesses, turned out to be excellent cases for the defense.
Oftentimes, new facts that are learned throughout the investigative portion of a case (also called the discovery process) can be used to negotiate with the prosecutor to obtain a better plea offer. Or, in the alternative, they can be used in trial (or possible a motion hearing) to beat the case altogether.
To discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney at our office and to set up a free consultation, please call (941) 444-5128.
Our attorneys have extensive experience defending people charged with crimes. Please visit our homepage to learn how we can help you if you are facing criminal charges.