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Definition - What does Arraignment mean?

An arraignment is a legal proceeding in which a person who has been arrested for a criminal offense is brought before a judge. It is the first step in the court process for a criminal defendant. If the person has been held in jail between the time of the arrest and the arraignment, the arraignment will also serve as a bail hearing; the judge will decide whether to let the defendant out on bail or not. The charges that a defendant faces are reviewed, and the court determines the course of action, the date of future proceedings, and what needs to happen in the interim. A plea is given by the defendant at the arraignment.

Justipedia explains Arraignment

The arraignment is the first opportunity that a defendant is given to dispute or confirm the charges brought against him or her; the defendant will also plea either guilty or not guilty. In some cases, if the defendant pleads not guilty and the judge can see overwhelming reason to believe the defendant (or that the court papers are not in order), the judge may dismiss the case at the arraignment stage. If the defendant pleads guilty, then a date will be set for a future hearing.

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