What is an Arraignment?

An arraignment or initial appearance is a criminal proceeding where the defendant is called before a judge in a court, informed of the charges (either in writing or orally, but usually just in writing) and asked to enter a plea of not guilty, guilty or no contest. 


The judge usually sets bond in the case based on the level of the charges and initial information they may have. 


When the case is a misdemeanor, the defendant usually does not need to appear, as his or her lawyer can appear for that person.  There are certain exceptions to this general rule, so it is best to confirm this with your lawyer rather than assume that counsel’s appearance suffices.

Categories: General
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