The United States Constitution provides individuals with protections from being held in custody for extended periods of time without knowing what they have been charged with. Arraignment serves to provide individuals who are accused of a crime with a reading of the charges filed against them.
An arraignment is a preliminary stage in a criminal trial. It is there that the accused will hear the formal charges that have been filed against them, and enter their official plea. There are also a number of other items that may be addressed during arraignment.
If a defendant has not yet acquired an attorney at the time of arraignment, a judge should advise the defendant of their right to hire their own attorney and whether or not they are eligible for representation by the Office of the Public Defender. Public defenders can be requested by defendants who do not have the resources to obtain private legal counsel. Similarly, if a defendant has not secured counsel at the time of arraignment, they may be able to request additional time to do so.
Arraignment also serves as a means for scheduling future hearings. This can include hearings for pretrial motions and preliminary matters. Pretrial motions that are made at an arraignment typically request that the court evaluate specific matters in depth. This can include motions to exclude evidence from further proceedings, request the release of evidence, and reschedule subsequent proceedings or dismiss the charges altogether.
If you have been accused of a crime and are facing arraignment, it is important to understand your legal rights. The criminal defense attorneys at Alperstein & Diener have vast experience representing clients in a number of criminal trials and related hearings, and can help clients to better understand the charges filed against them and their legal options. For more information on arraignment hearings, or to schedule a consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys, contact Alperstein & Diener.