Before answering whether a person can go to jail at an arraignment, let us first become familiar with the general arraignment procedure. The article will help you understand all the essential details about whether you can go to jail for an arraignment.
In case you are charged with committing a crime, there are many different hearings you have to attend. Depending on the nature of your crimes and the complaint against you, you may have several hearings starting with the arraignment. It is one of the first steps of a criminal trial before the court.
What is an arraignment?
An arraignment is the formal reading of criminal charges before a defendant or person charged with these crimes so the defendant knows what crimes they are charged with and can respond to accusations.
An arraignment is not a trial and does not decide evidence, guilt, or innocence. For misdemeanors, the accused does not need to appear. At an arraignment, the accused pleads guilty, not guilty, or stays silent, and the judge gives their decision on bail.
Process of an arraignment
- Reading of accusations and charges by the judge:
The judge tells the defendant about the charges levied against him and his constitutional rights and informs him that if he cannot afford to hire a lawyer, the court will assign a lawyer free of charge.
Then, the judge will invite the defendant if he wants to waive the reading of the charges. Reading consists of highly technical, step-by-step descriptions of the allegations, so defense counsel usually requests that the process of reading charges gets waived. It just accelerates the working speed.
The judge will continue to inform the accused of the charges in general and everyday terminology and advise him about his rights.
- Entering a plea by the accused:
The bench will ask the defendant to enter a plea. The options for pleading are guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere.
If the accused pleads not guilty, the judge will decide whether to release the defendant further on his recognizance or require bail.
A plea of no contest, or in some states, “standing mute,” means that the defendant has not appealed and is exercising his right to remain silent.
- Decision on the granting of bail:
Once the defendant enters, the judge will decide whether to set bail. If bail is ready, the accused must pay 10 percent of the bail amount to get a release from the court.
If the charges are infractions, the accused may then be released.
If the defendant who is out on bail fails to appear in court, the court will issue an arrest warrant for him, bail will be forfeited, and thus the law enforcement will attempt to locate and take him into custody.
Serious felonies can result in no bail, and the judge will order that the defendant should get ordered to be in jail until the pending trial.
- Assigning of future court dates by the judge:
At the arraignment, the judge will also set future court dates.
The accused must determine whether to give up his right to a speedy trial. A lawyer will indicate how much time he needs to prepare for the case.
The judge will inform the defendant when he has to appear next in court, and the arraignment here gets completed.
Can you go to jail for an arraignment?
Once you get convicted of a crime, you will get brought to the local police station. At this point, the police officer can decide to release you or put you in jail. If the police don’t want to pursue it, you may be freed and given the summons to return to the arraignment later.
The judge will decide whether you will be released from jail or held in jail until your sentence by the court.
The judge holds the option of releasing you on your recognizance, which means the court trusts you to appear in court for a pre-trial hearing and trial.
However, the judge will say that you might get bail, which means you need to pay a certain amount of money to get bail. If you fail to appear in court in the future, the payment gets forfeited to the court. In some states, you can get a bail bond from a private bondsman.
The severity and outcome of the punishment depend on the crime committed. The more serious the crime, the more likely it is that bail would get refused.
Bail gets denied if you cannot afford the money or need time to get the money for bail. Then you will get taken into custody after the arraignment.
The focal reasons for you to be taken back to custody at an arraignment
After the judge orders bail, the accused will be taken back into custody till the bail amount is submitted.
Processing means verifying the defendant’s identity. It includes a photograph and fingerprints of the defendant and all necessary information entered into the police database. It is only compulsory for felony offenses, and it takes approximately 3-4 hours to process an individual’s data. Once this gets done, the accused can leave until the court date.
If the defendant breaches the bail conditions or if there is another alleged misconduct, he will be sent back to custody.
Felony or capital crime offenders who have committed a grave crime do not (in most cases) obtain the privilege of bail, either after arrest or before trial.
Charges generally do not end in jail for non-violent misdemeanors and minor offenses. The defendant must adhere to the bail conditions, which are, determined by the judge.
For felonies, the bail amount is generally determined, and upon payment, the defendant may get released until the trial date. Misdemeanor charges do not require a defendant to appear in court until their legal representative represents them.
It means that there is one way a misdemeanor or felony defendant can go to jail at an arraignment. Failure to appear for arraignment (felony) or attorney attendance (for a misdemeanor), a court warrant can be issued immediately, which might lead to imprisonment.
How soon after the initial arrest will the arraignment take place?
Arraignment often occurs very soon after arrest and completion of the booking procedure. The arraignment may be postponed for grave crimes until a grand jury responds with a charge.
Where are arraignments held?
Courtrooms are the place where arraignment hearing gets carried out. They can also get held over video conferences.
On what basis does the judge decide on bail?
A judge bases a bail decision on several aspects, including the defendant’s previous criminal history, whether he has family, how long he has been in the area, and whether he threatened any witnesses in the case.
hat happens if I fail to appear for the arraignment?
Failure to appear for arraignment can result in a warrant, arrest and felony charges, changes to bail conditions, or cancellation of bail.
Can the defendant waive the charge?
Criminal defendants can waive the charge, especially if a defendant has a lawyer. An advocate can facilitate this process by communicating with the public prosecutor and the judge and submitting a written waiver of the arraignment.
What happens if arraignment gets postponed?
The excessive delay infringes the defendant’s federal constitutional Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. If a criminal complaint or arraignment gets filed, and the public prosecutor’s office or the court orders the case to get arranged months or years later, the defense attorney may request that the case should get dispersed for the cause of delay.