What is an Arraignment?

A close up look at a courthouse or government building with lots of copy space to the right


An arraignment is where the person accused of a crime appears before a judge to hear what he or she is charged with doing. This is also where he or she pleads guilty or not guilty, and in a lot of cases, the judge will decide whether or not to release them on bail at this point.

Some states will only have an arraignment for felony charges, while others have them for all criminal charges, including misdemeanors.

When Do Arraignments Occur?

Arraignment Definition Within the arraignment definition, Arraignment is supposed to be scheduled only a reasonable time after arrest, not many months or years later. Delays in arraignment can trigger a request to dismiss the case, since every person has a right to a speedy trial in the sixth amendment.

What Happens at an Arraignment?

The first part of an arrangement will be standard, the reading of his or her rights. At this point, the defendant should have a lawyer present if he or she wants one, since proceeding without providing a public defender or other attorney would violate his or her rights.

While the defendant may be aware of what got them arrested, this is also the time when they’ll hear the formal charges. It may turn out that they are charging the defendant with more or less severe crimes than originally thought, so this is an important part of the arraignment to pay attention.

Then the defendant will choose to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest, where they admit that the evidence points to them but aren’t actually admitting guilt. Their lawyer will usually advise them in this choice.

Finally, if they are awaiting a trial or further court proceeding, the judge will decide how much bail will be required for them to be released. At this point, they may need a bail bondsman to provide the bail and help them be released until their court date.

Now that you know what an arraignment is, if you want to know which bail bondsman you want to work with before an upcoming arraignment, use the Bail Agent Network to find someone in your area.

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