Understanding Arraignment in a Criminal Case


arraignment, preliminary arraignment

Understanding Arraignment in a Criminal Case

On the surface, a criminal case in the judicial system can seem like a complicated process. In the final analysis, a person oftentimes better understands the overall criminal justice system in the United States by coming to the terms with the individual parts of the process.

One primary part of the process in criminal court is what is known as the arraignment. A number of different things occur during the course of an arraignment, which are discussed here.

Arraignment Overview

The arraignment in a criminal case is the first real step in the overall process. The arraignment is held in fairly close proximity to the time that a person was arrested for a crime. This particularly is the case if a person charged with a crime has not been able to make bail (or if no bail amount was yet determined by the court).

What Occurs at the Arraignment?

A number of different events occur during the course of an arraignment in a criminal case. Chief among these elements is the reading the actual charges to the defendant by the court.

Legal Representation at the Arraignment

A defendant oftentimes does not have legal representation at the arraignment. The court is likely to advise a defendant of his or her ability to obtain legal counsel.

Proactive Approach to an Arraignment

Because critical issues are raised at an arraignment, it is crucial for a defendant to be proactive about retaining legal representation. A person charged with a crime must seek out a qualified criminal defense attorney with all deliberate speed. A typical Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney will schedule an initial consultation at no cost to the potential client. A person charged with a crime is able to learn different defense options during an initial consultation with an attorney.

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