Arraignment (criminal law) (Ro.: aducerea la cunoştinţă a calităţii de suspect/ reţinerea, Fr.: interpellation, n.f./ mise en accusation, n.f., Gr.: απαγγελία της κατηγορίας/ανάγνωση του βουλεύματος, Cz.:slyšení ve věci obžaloby) (See also: indictment) = a formal reading of the criminal charges, in order to inform the defendant of the crime he or she is accused of. 

In response to arraignment, the accused is expected to enter a plea. Acceptable pleas vary among jurisdictions, but they generally include pleading 'guilty', or 'not guilty'.

In the US, this is usually the first part of the criminal procedure. Arraignments are held within 48 hours of a suspect’s arrest (excluding weekends and holidays), if the suspect is in jail. This step occurs in a courtroom, before a judge or magistrate. 

In the UK, an arraignment can be also viewed as the step in which the suspect is being 'called to the bar', so that the clerk of the court informs him or her of the charges brought upon him or her in the indictment. 

In Romania, the arraignment can somewhat be found in Article 307 in the Criminal Procedure Code, which states that a person who is being accused of a criminal offense must be informed of that fact before the first hearing, and of his/her rights, followed by a statement from the accused. Also, in Article 209, it is stated that if someone has been in police custody for 24 hours, he or she must be immediately informed regarding the criminal offence he or she is suspected of, and regarding the reasons for his/her temporary detention.  


Useful links

Legislation - Art. 307, Criminal Procedure Code, Romania [Romanian] - Art. 209, Criminal Procedure Code, Romania [Romanian] - Sixth Amendment, U.S. Constitution, USA [English] - Rule 10. Arraignment, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, USA [English] - The Criminal Procedure Rules 2005, UK [English]

Organisations and associations - How do I better understand the arraignment\presentment process?, District of Columbia Courts (USA) - How Criminal Cases Work, California Courts (USA)

Online Publications - Baldwin, Lauren, Criminal Arraignment: What to Expect, - Schwartzbach, Micah, Arraignment: Getting to Court, - What is an arraignment?, - David, Joyce B., 1998, What You Should Know If You're Accused of a Crime,


Blackstone, Christian, Chitty, Lee, 1832, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Collins and Hannay

Neubauer, Fradella, 2013, America’s Courts and the Criminal Justice System, USA, Cengage Learning

Samaha, 2011, Cengage Advantage Books: Criminal Procedure, 8th edition, USA, Cengage Learning


By Mircea Farcău