The Arraignment Process

The arraignment is the first court appearance following an arrest, which will come after the booking takes place and bail has been initiated. It is not the trial, but the early proceedings of it. The case may go to trial and require defense in the courtroom, or prior to that happening, a settlement may be made or charges may be dropped. This is the first time you or your loved one will see a judge.

What happens during an arraignment?

A few very important things happen at the arraignment: First, the judge will inform you of the official charges that have been placed against you during a formal reading. They will then ask how you plead. Whether you plead guilty, not guilty or no contest will determine further aspects of your case and how it is carried out. Next, they will consider the bail amount, and if they want to alter it or to allow you to leave on your own recognizance. After this has been carried out, the date of the next court appearance will be established.

Setting Bail

Bail is the amount of money, or other form of security, which must be paid to get out of jail while the case is pending. The purpose of bail is to let an accused person remain free while the case is open, but also to guarantee that the defendant will come back for future court appearances. If you fail to appear for a hearing as the judge directs, the court can issue an arrest warrant and order the bail forfeited. As long as you come to court on time, the bail will be returned to the person who posted it, whether the case is resolved with a guilty plea, a conviction after trial, or a dismissal of the charges. Whether bail is set at all, and if so, how much the bail is, can make all the difference in the outcome of a case.

The amount and conditions of bail depend on factors such as whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, and your background. If you find yourself in handcuffs or in a jail cell, your number one concern will no doubt be, "How soon can I get out?" The earlier in the process you involve The Law Office of John M. Cromwell as your White Plains criminal defense lawyer, the sooner I can begin to put together a powerful argument with supporting evidence to convince a judge that you should be released with no bail, which is also referred to as "released on your own recognizance (ROR)," or with low bail that you or your family can make right away. That way, you can get out of jail and return to your job and your family, while I work to fight the charges to achieve a favorable result.

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