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Question What happens at a felony arraignment hearing? (Posted by: Anonymous )

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What Happens at a Felony Arraignment Hearing: Overview

A felony arraignment hearing is a court proceeding and a significant aspect of criminal procedure. Felony arraignments are one of the first steps in the process of being formally charged with a felony. These hearings function to apprise defendants of their constitutional rights, particularly the 6th Amendment right to be informed of the crime for which a defendant is being accused. During a felony arraignment, a defendant typically comes into contact with the attorney who will be prosecuting the case against him for the first time.

Felony Arraignment vs. Preliminary Hearing

Arraignments differ from preliminary hearings. Preliminary hearings are much like grand jury proceedings. During preliminary hearings, judges determine whether sufficient evidence exists for a defendant to stand trial. Defendants may waive preliminary hearings, meaning they are not required to be present. Arraignments differ from preliminary hearings in that the determination as to whether enough probable cause exists to charge a defendant has already been established. Additionally, a defendant's presence is typically required at a felony arraignment. Federal courts require all defendants to be present at felony arraignments. However, state courts may relax the rules, depending on the jurisdiction.

Informed of Rights

During a felony arraignment, a defendant is informed of his constitutional rights. If a defendant has not obtained counsel by the time of his arraignment, he will be informed of his 6th Amendment right to counsel. If for some reason, a defendant does not have counsel at his arraignment, the court will inform the defendant that he has a right to court-appointed counsel if he cannot afford to retain his own. If a defendant wishes to request court-appointed counsel, he may do so during his arraignment hearing.

Entering a Plea

At a felony arraignment, a defendant is informed of the charges against him, including the substance and details of the charges. Typically, a defendant is given a copy of an indictment and/or the details of all charges against him. After the court apprises a defendant of all charges, he is then asked how he would like to plead. Defendants who have not had the opportunity to consult counsel are generally encouraged to refrain from entering a guilty plea.

Setting Bail

Bail is set at a felony arraignment. During the hearing, defendants are allowed to ask for bail or to be released. Courts consider a number of factors in determining how to set bail or whether to release the defendant pending his trial. If the defendant has strong ties to his community and a family, he may be given a lower bail amount. If the defendant poses a flight risk or if the crime for which the defendant is being charged was violent in nature, a court might remand the defendant to custody, meaning the defendant goes straight to jail.

If the court is convinced that remand is necessary, a defendant may request a bail hearing to be held on for a future date. During a bail hearing, a judge reconsiders setting bail based on the arguments presented.

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Does an attorney have to be present at my arrainment? Can I just enter a plea of "Not Guilty" and request a trial by jury? By Ruben on 21-02-12 at 11:23am
Left out the most important aspect of arraignment. The accused must be able to see charges, therefore a felony complaint submitted under penalty of perjury or duly sworn and each must be notarized or taken before a judge. Felony complaint must be filed with the court and copy must be provided to the accused. Without a felony complaint, probable cause is not established hold a person to answer and grand jury investigation, indictment. Grand jury indictment does not occur without a felony complaint. Other overview points of process are correct, although without a felony complaint everything else is unlawful. By Anonymous on 03-05-12 at 12:57pm
if you are charged with a felony against someone, does the person have to testify or can the State pick up the charges? By Anonymous on 27-10-12 at 06:56pm
Great answer! Helped in a project! By Anonymous on 09-01-13 at 11:34am
Follow up questions- 1. If a plea of not guilty is entered but defendant does not have bail money, what is the likelihood of him going to jail at the arraignment? He has a public defender.
. In this case the defendant is my ex-husband and I am the victim where he is being charged with larceny with a value of stolen goods at 50K. He was indicted at the grand jury. The defendant shares custody of our 14 year old with half time period of responsibility, ordered by the court. It is likely that defendant/father may lie at the arraignment saying he has full custody as leverage with the judge, would I provide documentation to the DA? Thank you very much. By Jamy on 20-04-13 at 01:10am
if you are charged with a felony against someone, does the person have to testify or can the State pick up the charges? By Anonymous on 21-04-14 at 02:30pm
Yes the state can always pick up the charges By Anonymous on 30-06-14 at 10:09pm
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