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What is the arraignment in a criminal case?

There are many steps in the criminal justice process that a person will go through. One step that some people might not fully understand is the arraignment hearing. This hearing is a crucial step in the criminal justice process because of the elements that are present in this hearing.

What happens at the arraignment?

During the arraignment, the defendant has a chance to enter a plea. This can be no contest, guilty or not guilty. This is done in response to the reading of the charges that are being placed against the defendant. It is crucial that you understand the charge information before you enter a plea. The judge will revisit the issue of bail and will make determinations about the future dates for the process.

When is the arraignment?

An arraignment happens as the fourth step in the criminal justice process. The first step is the arrest. The second step is the booking. The third step is the initial bail hearing. The arraignment always happens before a criminal court judge either in person or via a video feed.

What else is a factor during the arraignment?

You will be asked if you have an attorney during the arraignment. It is your constitutional right to have an attorney with you at all court hearings during the duration of your case. Make sure that you exercise that right because each step in the process can have an impact on the ultimate outcome of your case. Your legal representation can help you to ensure that you understand everything that is going on and what options you have.

Source: FindLaw, “Arraignment,” accessed March 04, 2016