What Happens at an Arraignment

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The criminal defense process in Texas has several steps that outline the process that law enforcement and the court system follow when a suspect has been arrested. The arraignment is part of that process. Here’s what happens at an arraignment.

After an arrest, the suspect is booked into a local police station or jail, where law enforcement will take their photo, obtain fingerprints, and make a record of the charges filed against them. The suspect could also be subject to search and questioning. 

What is An Arraignment

As part of the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution, every person is granted the right to hear the charges that were filed against them. The arraignment is the first formal step in the court process. This happens at the arraignment, where the suspect will go before a judge. They will also be able to request an attorney and enter a plea. When a person is arrested in Texas, the arraignment typically happens within 72 hours. 

The Plea

A plea is simply the answer to the criminal charges that have been brought against your loved one. The defendant has four options:

Guilty – The defendant is admitting to the court that they have committed the offenses they have been charged with. A judgment will be entered, and the case will be closed after sentencing. 

Not Guilty – Defendants that plead not guilty will be given a trial date. Depending on the charges and the severity, it could be a lengthy period of time before the trial date. 

Mute – If the defendant chooses not to answer, the judge will enter a plea for them. Entering this type of plea allows you to plead not guilty without admitting that the criminal justice process moved along correctly until that point.

No Contest – The defendant is not claiming guilt or innocence for the charges brought against them. This plea is commonly heard in property damage and personal injury situations. A plea of no contest is treated like a guilty plea, except that it can’t be used as evidence in a civil case. In Texas, the court doesn’t have to accept a no contest plea. Even if the prosecutor has accepted it, the judge can throw it out. 

After Entering the Plea 

Unless you have pleaded guilty, the judge will set a tentative court date. You can request bail if you aren’t released on a personal recognizance bond. A personal recognizance bond means you give the court your word that you will appear for scheduled court dates. If the judge has set bail you can then begin the process of obtaining the bail to have your loved one released until the hearing. 

Additional resources:

How to Post Bail After An Arrest

How to Find the Best Bail Bonds

Dos and Don’ts After You Post Bail

For assistance securing your bond in the San Antonio area, get in touch. We’re a family-operated bail bond company providing compassionate and knowledgeable experience navigating the legal process after arrest. We can explain the bail bond process, answer your specific questions, and help you secure a bond any time of day or night.

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