An arraignment in Vermont criminal court is a defendant’s first appearance. It is a constitutionally mandated opportunity for a Vermont criminal defendant to be told what his charges are and be given an outline of the evidence against him (typically provided in the form of sworn affidavits from law enforcement officers).
All Vermont criminal defendants have a right to represented by an attorney at arraignment. In some states criminal defendants do not enter a plea at arraignment. In Vermont, however, a plea of not guilty is traditionally entered at arraignment. The initial plea of not guilty allows the case to move forward and for the defendant to be able to obtain further discovery about the charges against him.
Arraignments are controlled by Vermont Rule of Criminal Procedure 10. The Rule states that “arraignment shall be conducted in open court and shall consist of reading the indictment or information to the defendant, unless he intelligently waives such reading, and calling on him to plead thereto.”
At arraignment most criminal defendants are released on conditions of release or a combination or conditions of release and bail. If the charges are very serious or the court determines that the defendant is unlikely to appear for court in the future (perhaps because of a history of failing to appear for court in the past) it is possible that the judge will hold a defendant in custody pending trial.
If you are facing a Vermont criminal charge contact us for a free case consultation today. Whether you have been arraigned or not we can provide a strategic assessment of your case and put together a defense strategy that works for you.