What You Should Know About Arraignment


If you’ve been arrested and booked into jail, you’ll attend a hearing where the judge will tell you the charges against you. This hearing is called an arraignment. Here’s what to expect.

1)      You’ll be asked to enter a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty.” In some circumstances and certain jurisdictions other pleas are possible, such as “nolo contendere” (no contest) and an Alford plea. Your attorney will almost always advise you to enter a plea of “not guilty,” even if you feel you should take responsibility for what happened. You can change your plea in the future.

2)      Washington State law says that when you appear at your arraignment, the court must ask if you have an attorney and if not, tell you that you have the right to one. If you can’t afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you from the Office of Public Defense. An attorney will be with you at all court hearings and will advise you of your rights throughout the entire process of the criminal proceedings against you.

3)      In Washington, arraignments must take place within 14 days of a complaint (charges) being filed against you in criminal court.

4)      At your arraignment, the judge will decide if you must remain in custody (stay in jail) or may be released, and under what conditions. The judge may require that you post bond (also known as bail) before you can be released. Additional conditions may include electronic home monitoring, not being allowed to leave the county or state, or being ordered to not have contact with certain people, such as an alleged victim or co-defendant.

5)      You’ll often learn about the next event in your case, which is likely to be a case setting hearing where a timeline of hearings and events leading up to trial will be established.


If you or a loved one is facing arraignment, you need an experienced, aggressive, and knowledgeable defense attorney. Call Gause Law Offices today for a free consultation – 206-660-8775.