Your first appearance in the court is called an arraignment. Hiring a bail bondsman may not be enough to fully protect yourself in court, so you will want to be prepared for what will occur during your arraignment. There have been many instances in which arraignments are unpredictable. Here are a few things to expect during this process:
The judge will formally tell you what the specific charges are against you. Knowing what you are accused of is protected by the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution. The court will also advise you of all of your Constitutional rights.
You may enter a plea, either guilty, not guilty, or no contest. These pleas depend on the crime and what your lawyer advises you to do, if you need one.
Related Article: What You Should Know Before Pleading No Contest
A future trial date is set if applicable.
Bail and release issues are settled. The bail amount is determined by a number of factors in serious cases, such as flight risk, danger to others, etc. Usually for small offenses that require a bond or bail being posted, the amount is relatively low. Some bail bond companies arrange to have a bondsman present at the arraignment, so that they can post bail for you even if the amount has gone up.
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You have a right to an attorney even if you can’t afford one, so if your case is serious, get a public defender to help you. A bonds agent can only help you post bail; they are not there to give you legal advice. Make sure you know your rights and your options are clear.