Appearance at Arraignment Can Be Waived

Did you know that appearance at an arraignment can be waived so that the defendant will not be required to be present in court until the pretrial hearing?When a person is charged with a crime, he will either be taken to jail or will receive a ticket informing him of the requirement of his appearance within 10 days. He must appear within 10 days to be arraigned on the charges against him. An arraignment is a procedural hearing whereby the accused must appear in court to have the charge read to him so that he can plead guilty or not guilty and request a court appointed attorney if necessary. The hearing is usually set before a magistrate in a less formal than typical court room. Once the arraignment has taken place, a pretrial hearing is set.

Waiver of arraignment is appropriate in many situations. A perfect example is a situation where the defendant has to travel many miles to attend the arraignment. The defendant can contact the court with jurisdiction over the ticket and inquire of the court clerk about arraignment procedures. For example, in the 54B District Court in East Lansing, Michigan, one can waive arraignment via the internet and a fax. The Waiver of Arraignment form can be downloaded from the City of East Lansing website at by clicking on ‘list of departments’, ’54B’, ‘court divisions’, ‘criminal court’, ‘court forms’ and ‘waiver of arraignment’. The essential contents of the waiver are the defendant’s name and address, ticket number and/or case number, charges, maximum penalty for those charges, and signature. The case number, charges, and penalty can be obtained from the court clerk. Once the waiver is completed, it the defendant is in the 54B District Court, it can be faxed to 517-351-4471. If the waiver is to be sent via mail, the defendant should provide that it is received by the court within the 10 day period.

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