The first 72 hours after an arrest are usually the worst—not just because of the long booking period, but for the cloudy area leading up to the arraignment. Oftentimes, individuals arrested and waiting to be booked in jail don’t know what their charges are (or why they’re in jail) until actually seeing a judge or magistrate.

This can be both frustrating and disheartening for many, with each minute feeling like an hour. The folks at DDD understand this feeling well, and want you to know we’re here to help. Aside from providing fast and affordable bail bonds to release anyone from jail in Dallas County, we offer free advice and legal information: today, we’re talking arraignments.

What Is an Arraignment?

An arraignment occurs when the accused faces a judge or magistrate. Arraignments are usually the first part of a criminal procedure. The purpose of an arraignment is to read out the defendant’s charges face-to-face (or screen-to-face), as mandated by the United States Constitution.

This is a protection required by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, to prevent any authority from holding an accused person in custody for too long without telling them the charge. However, the arraignment must occur within 72 hours after arrest—if the arraignment doesn’t happen after 72 hours, the defendant may argue that their constitutional right to a speedy trial has been violated.

Related: What Does “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” Really Mean?

Arraignment Rules

Rules for arraignment depend on the crime or charge. Arraignment rules vary depending on whether the crime is a federal charge, state charge, felony offense or misdemeanor crime. However, for the most part, there will always be an arraignment if it looks like jail time is a possibility with a conviction.

What to Expect at an Arraignment

Arraignments are typically a multi-step procedure. The first step is to appear in a court setting and be informed of their rights and options to an attorney. If the defendant doesn’t have an attorney or can’t afford one, the court will provide them with a list of options in order to receive a public criminal defense lawyer.

If the defendant needs a criminal law attorney, the court will begin arrangements to reschedule for another day and meet accommodations. Once the defendant is appropriately represented by counsel, the arraignment takes place. This is when the defendant has their charges read to them in a formal setting. 

At this point, the defendant is expected to enter a plea: guilty, not guilty, or no contest. A no-contest plea means that the defendant is not admitting guilt, but will not contest the charges. However, sometimes it’s possible to waive an arraignment and merely enter a plea. In this case, the defendant’s attorney would agree in exchange for something from the prosecutor or the prosecutor’s attorney, like an expedited discovery.

Bail bonds, or any other arrangement of the like, are also reviewed at the formal arraignment, even if already previously addressed. Additionally, the court can also announce the dates of further proceedings, such as the pretrial conference or a trial date at the arraignment.

Related: What Slows Down the Bail Bond Process

DDD Bail Bonds Works Fast

If you or someone you know is in jail and awaiting their arraignment, call DDD Bail Bonds of Dallas. We have many years of professional experience serving defendants and inmates throughout Dallas County and securing their release from jail fast. Our affordable rates and accommodations ensure anyone can get a bail bond and release their loved one as soon as possible. For information, contact our office today.