An arraignment is the first phase of a criminal case following an individual’s arrest. Generally, arraignments are only used for felonies, not misdemeanors. In North Carolina, a person who has been arrested must typically be brought before a magistrate or judge within 48 hours of their arrest, absent special circumstances. At the arraignment, the defendant will have their first taste of the judicial system.
Purpose of Arraignments
Arraignments exist in order to inform the defendant of the charges being brought against them as mandated under the 6th Amendment. At an arraignment, a defendant will also be informed of their other Constitutional regarding a criminal trial like the right to a speedy trial or the right to counsel. Additionally, if the defendant has not retained an attorney by the time of the arraignment, the defendant will be informed that they have the right to a court appointed lawyer, which the defendant must explicitly request. During an arraignment, a defendant will also typically see the attorney who will prosecute the crime against them.
Entering A Plea
At an arraignment, after being informed of the charges being brought against the defendant, the defendant will have to enter a plea. Before entering a plea, the defendant will be given a chance to see the indictment and details of the charge being brought against them. After reviewing the information and having the opportunity to talk to their counsel, the defendant will then plea either guilty or not guilty.
At an arraignment, a defendant will also have bail set for their charges. Although a defendant may ask to be released without bail, certain crimes have a required bail amount associated with them. During the bail process, the judge or magistrate will also consider other factors that may raise or lower the bail amount such as community ties or the flight risk of the defendant. In certain situations, like if the crime is especially violent or serious, bail will not be granted and the defendant will be returned to jail. If that occurs, the defendant can request an additional bail hearing for further consideration of the potential of bail.
If you or someone you know have been charged with a crime, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case. Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.
James Minick is founder and C.E.O. of Minick Law, P.C. James is committed to providing top notch legal services through his team of highly specialized legal professionals. James will defend your rights.