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An arrest is usually followed by an arraignment. Alternatively, you may get a Desk Appearance Ticket (“DAT”) after you are arrested and directed to appear in Court at a later date for your Arraignment. This is an initial formal hearing in a Criminal Court at which a defendant is informed of specific charges against him/her, advised of his/her rights, and is asked to enter a plea. This is also a stage where a judge decides whether a defendant is released pending further proceedings. An attorney requests for his client to be released on his/her own recognizance, or that the court would set bail as low as possible. So, the judge at the arraignment determines one’s bail. A defendant may be released on his/her own recognizance, have bail set, or be remanded to jail without bail. Arraignment must occur within a reasonable time after the arrest not to violate the 6th Amendment Right to a Speedy Trial.After an arrest, if you do not get DAT, you will appear before a judge within 24 hours at an arraignment hearing. At that point, you will be informed of the charges against you and you or your attorney will be provided with a paper copy of the charges against you. An arraignment can be the end or the beginning of your case, which is why legal representation is critical even at this early stage. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor, Assistant District Attorney (prosecutor) may offer you a plea to the reduced charge with a sentence recommendation. If you consent and the judge approves the plea, the case may get resolved at arraignment. This usually happens with a low-level first offense. The judge may also dismiss your case under certain circumstances. If there is no resolution, the Judge will listen to the bail arguments from both prosecutor and the defense attorney and will decide whether to set bail, the bail amount, whether to release the defendant on own recognizance (“ROR”) or, in some serious matters under special circumstance whether to remand the defendant without bail. It is essential to have an experienced defense attorney familiar with local customs and practices to make the most compelling bail argument for the defendant. Also, dependent on the nature of the case, the Court may issue a full stay-away or a limited order of protection against the defendant and in favor of the complaining witness.