There are generally going to be two things happening at any arraignment in a criminal case in the District Court of the Superior Court.

Charges and Indictments

First, a defendant will be read his charges or indictments. This is important so that the defendant knows what he or she is charged with and can begin preparing the defense of the case.

Bail Options

Second, the issue of bail is addressed. A judge or magistrate will decide whether the defendant will be released (personal recognizance) or whether he or she will be held on bail (in some cases, a defendant can be held without bail). If a defendant is held on a cash bail he or she will be held in the county jail unless and until someone can post the amount of bail set. When the case is concluded, if the defendant appears for all court dates, the bail money will be returned to whoever posted it.

The rules for arraignment are set forth by the Massachusetts Rule of Criminal Procedure 7.

If you have a case scheduled for arraignment, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible.