The first court appearance you will make after your arrest is called an arraignment hearing. This hearing generally occurs just days after the police arrest you, and it serves several vital purposes. If you are facing your first criminal charge, it is wise to learn what this hearing is for before you attend. By learning this, you can know what to expect. Here are the primary things that typically take place at a criminal arraignment hearing that you should expect.

The Judge Will Read the Charges

The judge will begin by stating the basic details of the case and asking you to state your name. After that, he or she will read the charges. The charges are those that the court has against you. You are not yet guilty of them, though. This hearing initiates the due legal process required for all criminal cases, and it begins by stating the charges in question.

The Court Will Explain Your Rights

Next, you can expect the judge to explain your rights to you and ask you if you understand them. If you do not understand them, ask questions or talk to a criminal defense lawyer. As a defendant in a criminal case, you have numerous rights through the Constitution, and you should utilize these rights. For example, you do not have to state any details about the crime because of the Fifth Amendment. You have this right, and you can and should use it.

The Judge Will Discuss Bail

If you are still in jail during the arraignment hearing, the judge will discuss this issue, too. The judge will determine if you should have a bail amount set, and if so, the judge will set the amount. You can pay the bail for a pretrial release if you have the funds to do so. You can remain in jail during this time, though, if you prefer.

The Judge Will Ask for Your Plea

The other thing to expect is for the judge to ask you for your plea. You should plead "not guilty" at this point whether you have a lawyer or not. By choosing this plea, you will have more room to work during your case.

You can expect these four things to occur during your criminal arraignment hearing. You can attend this hearing alone or with a criminal lawyer. If you don't have a lawyer yet, you should consider hiring one before you attend your arraignment hearing.

To learn more, contact a criminal defense lawyer.