What Happens at an Arraignment?

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What Happens at an Arraignment?

You have a date for your arraignment, but what is it? Here is some information about what it is and what to expect.

Definition of an Arraignment

If you have been charged with a crime, the first step in the criminal procedure is an arraignment, which is before a judge in a courtroom. The procedure involves reading you the crime you’ve been charged with and entering your initial plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.

Rules of an Arraignment

An arraignment is required under the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution in order to protect you from being held for an extended period of time in custody while not telling you what you’re being charged with. There is usually a 72 hour period after being arrested that an arraignment must occur. If it doesn’t happen during this time period, you can argue that your constitutional rights to a speedy trial has been violated.

Factors Affecting Arraignments

There are many factors involved in the rules for an arraignment. Two main factors is whether the crime you’re being charged with is federal or state, and whether it’s a felony or misdemeanor. Arraignment rules vary from state to state, but if you have to spend time in jail, you’ll be arraigned.

Arraignment Steps

There are multiple steps to an arraignment:

  • You must appear in court. Once there, you will be advised of your rights to have an attorney represent you. If you can’t afford one, a public defender will be assigned to your case. After counsel has been selected, the charges will be read.
  • You will be expected to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. No contest is not admitting that you’re guilty, but that you are not contesting the charges.
  • Affected parties can waive an arraignment and just enter a plea. This may occur if a deal has been worked out by you, your attorney, and the prosecutor.

Additional Tasks for Arraignments

Other tasks during an arraignment include setting bail and other factors relating to your release. The judge may also set future dates for other proceedings such as a pre-trial conference or the actual trial.

If you have been charged with a crime and are facing an arraignment, you need the expert advice of a criminal defense attorney such as Sevens Legal, APC. Contact Sevens Legal, APC, today for a free consultation.

Sevens Legal, APC
Criminal Defense Attorneys
3555 4th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: (619) 297-2800

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