arraignment | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

An arraignment is a proceeding in which a criminal defendant is brought into court, told of the charges in an indictment or information, and asked to plead guilty or not guilty.

An arraignment is a crucial legal proceeding that marks the beginning of a criminal trial. During an arraignment, the defendant is formally charged with a crime and informed of the charges against them.

In most cases, arraignments occur soon after a person is arrested or charged with a crime. The defendant is brought before a judge or magistrate, and the charges are read aloud. This is typically done through a document called an indictment or information, which outlines the specific charges against the defendant.

After the charges have been read, the judge will ask the defendant to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. A guilty plea means that the defendant admits to the charges against them and is willing to accept the consequences of their actions. A not-guilty plea means that the defendant denies the charges and wants to contest them in court.

In some cases, a defendant may choose to enter a different type of plea, such as a plea of no contest or a plea of guilty but mentally ill. These pleas have different legal implications and may be subject to different procedures depending on the jurisdiction.

Arraignments are an important part of the criminal justice process because they ensure that defendants are informed of the charges against them and given the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. This allows the court to move forward with the trial and begin the process of determining whether the defendant is guilty or innocent.

During an arraignment, the defendant may also be informed of their rights, such as the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. This is a critical aspect of the legal process, as defendants must be fully informed of their rights in order to make informed decisions about their cases.

In some cases, the arraignment may also involve the setting of bail or other conditions of release. This may involve the determination of a bail amount, which the defendant must pay in order to be released from custody while awaiting trial.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 05/03/2023


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