Once undergoing the typical processes of an arrest, it is then time to appear in court. The first time one appears in court after an arrest usually consists of three hearings, including Arraignment, Bail Hearing, and Appointment of Counsel.
During the process of arraignment, the Prosecutor will begin by providing a complaint, or stating charges. At this time, the accused may state their plea (guilty or not guilty). This is an important step in the initial court process, as once an individual pleads guilty; the decision is binding and cannot be changed.
The next stage of the first court appearance is appointment of bail. At this point in time, one of two things will take place. Either a bail amount will be set, or the accused will be released on personal recognizance, meaning that they are released without paying bail, but promise to make their next court appearance. At this point, the individual’s attorney will provide the court with reasons why the accused can be released at the given time. This information may include such evidence as how long this person has lived in a given place, or where they go to work or school.
From there, the accused will move onto a stage called appointment of counsel. If the individual can provide paperwork stating proof that they are low income, they may be entitled to free legal representation. This may also include hiring an attorney.