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What is an Arraignment?

Back to Houston Criminal Law Video Frequently Asked Questions

Texas criminal law requires an arraignment in all felony cases as well as misdemeanor cases where you face imprisonment as a possible punishment. At an arraignment, you will be brought before the judge, who will inform you of the charge or charges against you and ask you to enter a plea.

Most often a Not Guilty plea is entered at this initial stage, even if you later decide to plead guilty pursuant to a negotiated plea bargain. Bail or other conditions for your pre-trial release are also set at the arraignment.

If you have been charged with a crime in Texas, be sure to consult with a Houston criminal defense attorney prior to your arraignment for the best possible outcome in your criminal matter.  Criminal defense attorney, Jim Story explains what is an arraignment in this law video.

Houston Criminal Law Video Transcription

An arraignment is a legal proceeding, in court, where the client will need to be present with counsel. It’s best to have retained counsel there, and it’s best to retain counsel prior to that hearing, so that the counsel can meet with you in their office and go over with you everything that’s going to happen at the arrangement, so you’ll know what’s going on.

At the arraignment in court, you’ll be given a indictment sheet, showing what you’ve been charged with, that shows the elements of the offense. It’ll also let you know what level of offense it is, and what the punishment range is.

At that arraignment, you’ll plead not guilty, request a jury trial, and we’ll get settings for our pre-trial dates and our trial dates. It’s a relatively short proceeding itself, although sometimes you’ll be waiting in court for a while before you get in front of the judge. It’s nothing that’s too complicated, and it should be over rather quickly.

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