Crime… and its Aftermath

GETTING ARRESTED - YOUR RIGHTS AND WHAT TO EXPECT: Lesson 5

First Court Appearance: Arraignment

  • By law, your first appearance in court must happen without a long delay within the first few days of your arrest.
    • The arraignment is where you will are told the charges against you, and about some of your rights.
    • The judge may also talk about bail at this point, if you are in jail.
  • If you are charged with a less serious misdemeanor crime, you will most likely be given the chance to enter a plea at this point.
    • “Not guilty” is a safe plea until you have had an opportunity to talk to your attorney.
    • If you can’t afford to pay for an attorney, politely tell the judge. The judge can appoint an attorney to your case and you will not have to pay.
  • If you are booked into jail, you must stay there until your next court appearance unless either:
    • The judge believes you will come to your future court dates and releases you from jail on “your own recognizance,” (sometimes called “getting OR’d”) or
    • The judge sets a bail amount, and someone pays it.
  • You must appear at future court dates or you will likely be arrested, jailed, and brought to court.

 

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