What Happens at an Arraignment?

In the United States criminal justice system, a suspect is considered innocent until he or she is proven guilty in court. One of the first steps in the trial process is the arraignment hearing, which takes place within a few days of an arrest. At this proceeding, a defendant will hear the charges being levied against him and the judge will deny or set the amount of bail bonds Allentown PA

What is an Arraignment Hearing?

An arraignment hearing serves two main purposes. First, it allows the defendant to formally hear the charges that are being raised against him so that he may prepare a proper defense. Secondly, the judge will set a bail amount. Bail is the amount of money that can be paid to the court to secure the defendant’s release until his or her trial date. A defendant may choose to have an attorney present at the arraignment, although it is not required.

After the charges are read, the defendant can enter a plea with the court. If the defendant chooses to enter a guilty plea to avoid going to trial, a sentencing date will be set. If, however, the defendant enters a plea of not guilty, he or she will have a date set for a criminal trial. 

What Happens if the Suspect Cannot Make Bail?

If the defendant is able to pay the full bail amount or secure a bail bond from a bail agent, he or she will be released until the next trial date. In the event that he does not show up for trial, the full amount of cash bail or collateral is forfeited to the court. 

If a suspect cannot raise bail, he may either stay in detention until the trial date or enlist the services of a bail agent, who will issue a bail bond to the court to secure release in exchange for a service fee.