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The Criminal Arraignment Process

After a person is arrested and taken to the police station or local jail for booking, there may be an opportunity to post bail. Bail may be determined by an established schedule or set by a judge. After the booking and bail process, an arraignment is scheduled.

If you have been arrested for or charged with a crime, you can connect with a criminal defense attorney before your arraignment. Simply fill out the free online evaluation form on this page or call 877-445-1059 today.


Arraignment – The First Court Appearance

Unless a judge was required to set bail, the arraignment is generally the first court appearance for a criminal suspect.

In most cases, the arraignment is a brief formal process. The criminal suspect is formally named as the defendant in the case and appears before a judge. During the arraignment, the judge will usually:

  • Read the criminal charge or charges against the defendant;
  • Ask the defendant if he or she has a criminal defense lawyer;
  • Ask the defendant to enter a plea of “not guilty,” “guilty,” or “no contest”;
  • Possibly revise or reduce bail or release the defendant on his or her own recognizance, or good behavior; and
  • Set the dates for future proceedings in the case.

The Right to Counsel

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of people who are accused of crimes. Under the Sixth Amendment, criminal defendants have the constitutional right to have legal representation during criminal prosecutions. If a defendant is unable to afford a criminal defense lawyer, in most cases, the court will appoint a lawyer to handle the case pro bono.

Locate a Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been arrested, speak with a criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with the law and can help you understand your charges. Total Criminal Defense can help you schedule a free, no obligation consultation. Just call at 877-445-1059 or fill out our free online evaluation form, and we will connect you with a local lawyer who can assist you with your case.

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The above summary of arraignments is by no means all-inclusive and is not legal advice. Laws may have changed since our last update. For the latest information on arraignments, speak to a criminal defense attorney in your area.


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