Facing charges and an arrest can be scary. One of the first things that happens is the initial hearing, also known as the arraignment.
Knowing what to expect may ease some of the stress and help you prepare for the proceedings.
Review of rights and charges
According to the Offices of the United States Attorneys at the United States Department of Justice, the initial hearing has four major intentions, which include:
- Review of charges and rights: The judge reminds you of what charges you are facing and reviews the Miranda rights. These include that you have a right to an attorney and that you have a right to remain silent when facing interrogation from a law enforcement officer without your attorney present.
- Attorney assignment: If you have not secured attorney representation and would like the court to assign one for you, the judge will name a public defendant to make your case. You have a right to this lawyer even if you are unable to afford presentation.
- Plea entrance: During the arraignment you will have a chance to enter a not guilty or guilty plea.
- Bail determination: The judge will decide if bail is a consideration as well as the amount for your release pending trial.
According to the American Bar Association, the judge considers a number of factors when deciding the granting, and amount, of bail. The judge will consider the type of alleged crime, your criminal history, your flee risk, the safety of the community, your current employment and your ties to the community.
If you pose low risk and have community roots, the judge may release you without a bail requirement. If the judge lays out bail and you cannot afford the amount, you may take out a loan by posting 10% of the bond amount.