What to Expect at Your Arraignment
According to statistics from the Oregon Uniform Crime Reporting Data, there were over 1 million (1,038,745) reported offenses statewide in 2022. When a person is arrested in Oregon, one of the first phases of their journey through the judiciary system is the arraignment. At the arraignment, you will be informed about your rights and the criminal charges against you.
At Felling & Reid, LLC, we are committed to offering comprehensive guidance and reliable representation to clients in their criminal cases. Our highly-skilled Oregon criminal defense attorneys can investigate every detail of your case, educate you about what to expect at your arraignment, and help strategize a solid defense to fight your charges. We’re proud to serve clients across Albany, Oregon, and surrounding areas throughout Benton, Polk, Marion, Lincoln, and Linn counties.
What Is an “Arraignment?”
An arraignment can be described as the first formal step in a criminal case. This is the first time that an alleged defendant will appear in court after an arrest. At the arraignment, the defendant will be formally advised of their rights, the charges against them, and the potential punishments.
Under Oregon law, the arraignment consists of reading the accusatory instrument (charges) to the defendant and asking them how they plead to the charge. The purpose of the arraignment is to protect the defendant’s rights, let them understand the criminal charges filed against them, and submit a plea.
When Will the Arraignment Take Place?
In Oregon, an arraignment takes place within the first 36 hours of an arrest unless the defendant has been released from custody. This rule applies to all cases where the alleged offender is in custody, unless the defendant was arrested – and put into custody – on holiday, Saturday, or Sunday. Then the arraignment shall take place within 96 hours after the arrest, usually the next business day. If the defendant was released from custody after arrest – commonly referred to as “cite and release” – the arraignment will occur at the first court appearance which is indicated on the citation.
What Occurs at the Arraignment?
If you have been arrested for committing a crime or breaking the law in Oregon, here’s what to expect at your arraignment:
Advised Of Your Rights: At the arraignment, the court will formally advise you of your rights. These include your right to a fair trial, your right against self-incrimination, and your right to legal counsel.
Informed of Your Charges: The prosecutor will read the formal charges against you at the arraignment (unless you or your counsel waives the reading). The charges may be brought on a district attorney's information or an indictment, depending on the severity of the charges and the course of the law enforcement investigation. You probably know what the police issued you a citation for, but those charges are sometimes changed by the DA once they have read the police report so the arraignment may be your first opportunity to hear what you’ve been officially charged with.
Appoint an Attorney: However, if you appear at the arraignment without an attorney, the court will ask you if you desire the aid of a legal counsel. If you cannot afford a lawyer, the judge will appoint legal counsel for you. Of course, you have the right to hire your own lawyer at any stage of the process, even if you have started the process with a court-appointed attorney.
Enter a Plea: Once the judge reads your charges to you at the arraignment, you will be asked to enter a plea of not guilty, guilty, or no contest. If you plead guilty or no contest, the next step is sentencing. However, if you plead not guilty, a date to return to court would be set.
Establish a Bail Amount: During the arraignment, the judge may establish a bail amount or authorize a conditional release without bail. A bail is set to provide assurances to the court that you will appear for future court proceedings and will abide by release conditions. If a bail is set, the amount of bail will depend on your criminal history, the nature of your crime or charges, and if you constitute a flight risk.
Set Dates for Pretrial Motions: If you plead not guilty, the court will schedule dates for pretrial motions, future hearings, and conferences. This allows the court to rule on certain issues about the case. Discovery, negotiations, and plea bargains may also take place during pretrial. If your case isn’t resolved, it will move to trial.
Do I Need an Attorney for the Arraignment Process?
Immediately after an arrest, it is important that you have legal representation. In fact, you should attend the arraignment hearing with your lawyer. Your lawyer can ensure that your rights are well protected. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you can have the court appoint an attorney at your arraignment.
Additionally, your legal counsel can assert specific defenses that may apply at the arraignment and can help strategize your best defenses after the arrangement, ensuring that your rights are protected at every phase.
Move Forward With Our Support
Being arrested and charged with an offense can be a scary and overwhelming experience. However, knowing what to expect during an arraignment can help ease your fears and help your case feel more manageable. At Felling & Reid, LLC, our attorneys are poised and ready to advise and represent clients in their criminal cases.
As your lawyer, Timothy Felling, Tyler Reid, or Dillon Duxbury can create an outline for a strong defense to help fight your charges. In addition, our trusted team will represent you with compassion and offer you the reliable legal assistance you need at every step of the legal process, including your arraignment.
Contact us at Felling & Reid, LLC, today to arrange a case evaluation with strategic criminal defense lawyers. Our dedicated attorneys can help you prepare for your arraignment and make sure your case is managed properly right from the start. We’re proud to serve clients across Albany, Oregon, and surrounding areas throughout Benton, Polk, Marion, Lincoln, and Linn counties.