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Definition of Arraigned

When you are to be arraigned, it simply means that you will have to appear in court in front of a judge for the first time.  You will be informed of the charges against you, and your plea, whether guilty or otherwise, will be recorded.

What can you expect during arraignment?

Unless you, and your lawyer, decide that you want the reading of the charges against you waived, a magistrate, clerk or a prosecutor of the court will read out your charges to you in court. Then, you will be asked whether you have understood the nature of the charges brought to bear against you.

If your reply is negative, you will be provided an explanation regarding any statute you may have violated (in reference to the complaint).

In some cases, the definition of arraigned can mean just your first appearance in front of a judge. But the broader definition of arraigned is your appearance in court, followed by the reading of your offense and a recording of your plea.

If you don’t have a lawyer with you, you will be afforded the opportunity to consult a lawyer.

If the offense you are accused of is bailable, you will be permitted to post bail and the case will continue at a later date to give you time to set up a legal defense. If the offense is not bailable, you will be allowed to call a lawyer for counsel.

In some cases, an attorney in the building where you are will be assigned to you for your defense. You may also be allowed a phone call to arrange bail if you cannot do so at that moment.

You will also be allowed to offer pleas to indictment as applicable, namely: guilty, not guilty, a former judgment of conviction or acquittal of the offense, once in jeopardy or not guilty by reason of insanity.

What is the goal of an arraignment?

An arraignment aims to provide you with a general understanding of the charges against you. It aims to arm you with the knowledge to defend yourself to the best of your ability. For the state, it is a chance to record your plea, so that it can proceed with the case accordingly.


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Adam G. Burke is a top Columbus criminal defense attorney. He represents clients in federal and state courts in Columbus, Ohio and surrounding areas. He has successfully defended men and women facing serious felony and misdemeanor charges.