In Virginia, the term "arraignment" is generally used to refer to the first appearance before the Court.  If you are held in jail, the arraignment should happen the following morning, and if you are released from custody (either after posting a bond or on your own recognizance) it typically happens 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