I've been told I have to appear in court for an arraignment. What should I expect at the arraignment?
Ther term arraignment is a general term which means different things in different states, and even means different things in different courts within a given state. In Virginia, it is common to use the term "arraignment" to refer to the first appearance before the Court. If you are held in jail after being arrested, the arraignment usually takes place the following morning, or the next day the court is open. If you are released from custody (either after posting a bond or on your own recognizance) the arraignment is typically scheduled for a few days later.
Substantively, the arraignment is a brief administrative hearing at which the Court will typically do the following:
- inform you of the charge against you and make sure you understand it
- inform you of your right to be represented by an attorney
- inquire whether you plan to hire a lawyer, ask the court to appoint a lawyer or represent yourself
- inform you of your next court date
- The knowledgeable, experienced and successful Virgnia Criminal Defense Lawyers of The Wilson Law Firm can discuss the Virginia arraignment process and other matters involving criminal defense with you in more detail.