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What Happens at a Criminal Arraignment?

What Happens at a Criminal Arraignment?

An arraignment is a court proceeding where a defendant accused of a criminal offense is formally told of the charges against them. During the arraignment, the defendant will be asked to enter a plea for the charges they are facing. A judge might also make a decision at the arraignment regarding whether the defendant will be released before trial.

Some states require arraignments for all felony and misdemeanor cases where the defendant is facing possible incarceration in jail or prison. Other states only require arraignments for felony cases.

When Does an Arraignment Take Place?

An arraignment needs to happen within a reasonable time after the defendant is arrested. Unreasonable delays for an arraignment is a violation of the defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial. If a criminal complaint or indictment is issued and the court or prosecutor’s office does not schedule an arraignment until months or years after, the defendant can ask for their case to be dismissed based on the delay. A judge will have to review the circumstances of the delay to determine if it was unreasonable.

Setting Conditions of Release

Courts use the following things to decide if a defendant should be released while their case is pending:

  • If the defendant is a danger to the community
  • What is the in the defendant’s criminal record
  • The defendant’s ties to their community
  • The defendant’s employment and ability to keep a job
  • The defendant’s history of appearing at court

Courts usually have the following options as conditions of release:

  • Release on the defendant’s promise to report for trial
  • Bond or bail
  • Supervised release
  • Release with limited contact

Can I Waive an Arraignment?

An attorney can waive your right to an arraignment by speaking with the prosecutor and the court and submitting a waiver of arraignment in writing. Attorneys can sometimes work out an agreement for conditions of a defendant’s release when they submit the documents waiving the arraignment.

Are you facing criminal charges? Do you need help preparing for your arraignment? Contact our team of Denver criminal defense lawyers to schedule a no-cost consultation today. 

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