Arraign Details

To arraign someone means to accuse them of wrong, imperfection, or inadequacy. Arraign also refers to calling or bringing someone into court to answer a criminal charge. The accused person being arraigned is also known as a defendant. The act of arraigning someone in court is called an arraignment.

During an arraignment, the court will inform the defendant of charges they face and give them a chance to plead guilty or not guilty. The judge will also determine if the defendant will have to remain in jail before a trial and set a bail amount. Bail is the temporary release of a defendant waiting for trial, usually after payment of a sum of money to ensure they show up in court.

Often, an arraignment will follow an initial appearance. However, some jurisdictions combine the initial appearance with an arraignment. An arraignment is required to occur within a certain time following an arrest. The timeframe varies depending on the type of court.

Example Of Arraign

When someone is arraigned, the court details the accused crime. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the judge will outline a time frame for a trial. When the judge is deciding whether to provide bail during an arraignment, they will consider factors such as:

  • How long the defendant has lived in the area.
  • Prior criminal record.
  • If the defendant has threatened a witness in the case.
  • The defendant's potential risk to the community.

The word arraign is the verb to the noun arraignment. Examples of using arraign in a sentence include:

  • After an arrest, the court can take up to seven days to arraign someone.
  • He will be formally arraigned on Monday morning.
  • She was arraigned today and pleaded not guilty.

History Of Arraign

The word arraign is borrowed from Old French and from the Middle English words araynen, areynen, and arreynen, which means asking, interrogating, and rebuking. Arraign also has roots in the Latin word adratiōnāre that includes the word ratiōnāre, meaning to speak or converse. Its first known use in the context of law is from the 14th century.

Arraign vs. Prosecute

In the context of court situations, arraign and prosecute are synonymous. However, arraign specifically means to accuse and charge someone and prosecute means to carry out legal proceedings. To prosecute also means to continue something until its completion.

Arraign vs. Indict

When you indict someone, you accuse them of a crime. In this sense, the two words are similar. However, the arraignment process involves an indictment and other components such as bail determination. An indictment also occurs when evidence is presented to a grand jury, and they formally accuse someone of a crime. For example, a jury may read an indictment that says, "Jane Doe did intentionally kill her husband on February 14, 2021, in Los Angeles County."

Arraign vs. Trial

When the court arraigns someone, they are not providing a trial. An arraignment details the accused crime and allows the defendant to speak their position, whereas a trial is a formal examination of the evidence associated with the crime.

Trials will occur after arraignment if the defendant pleads not guilty. If the defendant requests it, there can be a jury at the trial to review the evidence and decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty.