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how to get a troubled teen back on track

What Is An Arraignment Hearing In A Criminal Case?

by Bernard Rice

Facing a criminal charge for the first time might present some confusion to you, as this would be something you had never experienced before, and one of the first things you should do after this happens is hire a criminal lawyer for help. Hiring a lawyer is not only the best way to have someone helping you fight your charge, but it is also a great way to learn more about the process of a criminal case. One of the first things you will have to do after you are arrested for a crime is attending an arraignment hearing.

The purposes of an arraignment hearing

The key purpose of an arraignment hearing is to initiate the criminal charges against the defendant. The defendant must appear before a judge for this to happen, and the judge will go through a series of different things. If you are in jail during this hearing, the jail will transport you to court for the hearing. If you have already bonded out of jail, you will still be required to attend this hearing.

Another purpose of this hearing is to determine bail or negotiate on bail. If the court had not yet set a bail amount for the crime you were arrested for, this will occur at this hearing. If the court did set a bail amount but the bail amount is too excessive, you could argue that the court should drop the bail. The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution states that courts cannot set bail at excessive amounts. If you believe that your bail is too high, you could petition the court for a reduction. The court does not have to approve this, but it can be worthwhile to try.

An arraignment hearing is also designed to explain to the defendant exactly what charges the court has against him or her. The defendant will find out the names of the charges, the types of charges they are in criminal law, and the date in which the alleged crimes took place. This information helps a person understand why they were arrested.

The timing of an arraignment hearing

In most situations, an arraignment hearing takes place within just a few days after an arrest is made. In some cases, it occurs the day after an arrest. If you are arrested on a weekend, though, it might not take place until the following Monday or Tuesday. It really just depends when the arrest took place and when the court has time for this to happen. There are laws, though, that state that this hearing must take place in a timely manner. This is a constitutional right, and it is important for you to know this.

The things that take place during an arraignment hearing

During the arraignment hearing, you should expect several things to take place. First, the judge will tell you what criminal charges you have against you. Next, the judge may ask you how you would like to plea. The judge may ask you if you have a lawyer or if you need one appointed to you. The judge might also state the punishment for the crimes in question if you are found guilty, and he or she may also give you restrictions to follow while your case is pending.

If you are still in jail when the arraignment hearing takes place, a correctional officer will bring you to court for your hearing. If you bailed yourself out prior to the hearing, you will be required by law to show up for it. If you need advice, help, or answers, reach out to a criminal law firm today.