What Happens at an Arraignment?


What Happens at an Arraignment?

Criminal court cases involve several types of court hearings that lead to a potential criminal trial. Early in this process is the arraignment hearing. Following the initial offense report, a defendant will appear before a judge for their initial appearance, in which they will be read their rights and hear the allegations against them. They may also be required to appear at a preliminary hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence that a crime occurred.

An arraignment is the next step in this process. In some cases, an arraignment may be combined with the initial appearance. For felony cases, which are heard in the superior court, the arraignment will be the first court hearing. The arraignment must be held within 10 days of a defendant’s indictment or the direct complaint against them.

Here, the defendant is formally read their charges and is given the opportunity to enter a plea: not guilty, guilty, or no contest. Typically, defendants enter a plea of “not guilty.” Rather than admitting or accepting guilt, a “not guilty” plea allows the defendant to move forward with their defense for their criminal case.

Additionally, at an arraignment a defendant will:

  • Be advised of their right to an attorney or to be appointed a public defender.
  • Have dates set for the pretrial conference and trial.
  • Be informed of their release conditions. Those accused of violent or serious crimes, or those who are flight risks, will have bond set, while those accused of lesser offenses may be released on their own recognizance (a written promise to appear for their next hearing).

It is wise for a defendant to have an attorney represent them at this time to prevent pleading inappropriately or agreeing to an unfavorable plea agreement. If retained in advance of an arraignment, a defense attorney may choose to vacate the defendant’s arraignment, enter a plea of not guilty on their behalf, and set the case straight to a pretrial conference.

Failing to show up to an arraignment can lead to a judge issuing a bench warrant for the defendant for “Failure to Appear.” If the defendant doesn’t turn themselves in, they can be arrested for this violation.


If you have an upcoming arraignment, don’t delay in calling Rideout Law Group today to ensure you are aware of all of the options available to you and that your defense is protected.



With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.

Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:

  • charges that are reduced or dropped.
  • top experts reviewing your case.
  • aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
  • fines or probation in lieu of jail time.

At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.

Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.

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