What Is an Arraignment?
An arraignment is the formal appearance of an accused in court for the first time after an arrest or in response to a criminal summons to answer the accusations contained in the complaint or indictment.
At the Arraignment
At the arraignment, the judge:
- Calls the defendant by name for the purpose of completely and accurately identifying him.
- Informs the defendant of the charges and the penalty for each charge.
- Informs the defendant of his constitutional rights, including his right to counsel.
- Receives the defendant's plea of guilty, not guilty, or in some cases "no contest." Pleas of guilty or no contest result in the judge imposing a sentence immediately. A plea of not guilty usually results in a trial date set within 60 days of the arraignment date for felonies and within 30 days for misdemeanors.
- Sets and reviews the conditions for release or bail.
- Sets a future court date for a motion, the trial, or any other court proceeding. For felonies, the preliminary exam must be scheduled within 10 calendar days following the arraignment.
When Must an Arraignment Occur?
The police are permitted to hold a suspect in custody up to 72 hours before an arraignment must occur (depending on the jurisdiction). If the defendant has been released on his own recognizance ("ROR") or has posted bail, then the arraignment will occur within a short time after the defendant¿s release from jail.
Is a Personal Appearance to the Arraignment Required?
If a defendant is charged with a felony, he must appear in person at the arraignment. If the charge is a misdemeanor, the defendant's attorney may appear on his behalf.
What Can You Do if You are Accused of a Crime?
If you are accused of a crime, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses, and the complicated legal system.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 12-24-2013 02:40 PM PST
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