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Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers > Blog > Criminal Defense > What to Expect During an Arraignment?

What to Expect During an Arraignment?


Facing criminal charges is always a frightening experience, especially if you have never been through the criminal justice system before. An arraignment is usually one of the first steps in this process. You need to understand what to expect during an arraignment and how to prepare yourself.

Our Georgia criminal defense lawyers at Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers represent people who face criminal charges at all stages of the criminal case, including an arraignment. We know what is necessary to advocate for the client’s rights and achieve a favorable outcome.

What Is Arraignment in Criminal Cases?

Arraignment is the formal presentation of the charges against a defendant in his or her criminal case. It is usually the defendant’s first court appearance, and it provides an opportunity for the charges to be read aloud, for the defendant to enter a plea, and for bail to be set. The charges are usually presented in a document known as an indictment or information. The arraignment is a critical stage in the criminal process because it usually sets the tone for the rest of the case.

What to Expect During an Arraignment?

An arraignment usually takes place either the same day or the day after the arrest, according to the website of the U.S. Department of Justice.

During an arraignment, the judge will read aloud the charges against you and ask how you plead. You can plead: guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If you plead guilty or no contest, the judge will typically proceed to sentencing. If you plead not guilty, the judge will set bail and schedule a pretrial hearing. During the arraignment, you also have the opportunity to ask the judge about bail and to request a court-appointed lawyer if you cannot afford one.

Can You Be Sent to Jail at an Arraignment?

In most cases, you cannot be sent to jail during an arraignment unless you are unable to post bail. Bail is a sum of money paid by a defendant to guarantee that they will appear in court as required. If you are unable to post bail, you may be held in custody until your trial. If you can post bail, you will be released until your next court appearance. The amount of bail is determined by the judge and varies depending on the severity of the charges and the defendant’s flight risk.

Do You Need a Lawyer During an Arraignment?

While it is not required to have a lawyer present during an arraignment, it is highly recommended. A lawyer can help you understand the charges against you, negotiate a plea deal, and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the case. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can request a court-appointed attorney. The lawyer will be present during the arraignment to advise you and advocate on your behalf.

Get Your Questions Answered Today

When facing criminal charges, an arraignment is likely the first step in the legal process. It can be overwhelming and intimidating, but you can navigate this stage successfully with a lawyer on your side. If you are unsure about what to do during arraignment or have questions about your rights, reach out to Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers.

We can answer your questions and provide you with the representation you need during the arraignment and other stages of your case. Our law firm provides legal counsel throughout Georgia, including Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Cobb County, Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, and Johns Creek. Call 770-685-6400 to receive a case evaluation for free.



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