The circuit court arraignment is a hearing that follows the transfer (commonly referred to as the “bindover”) of a criminal case from the district court to the circuit court. This happens either after a preliminary examination is held, or there is a waiver of the preliminary examination in the district court.

The purpose of the circuit court arraignment is to (1) advise a defendant of their rights; (2) advise the defendant of the charges and the possible penalties; and (3) to have the defendant enter a plea. Sometimes during this hearing, the court also hears requests to modify bond from either the prosecutor or defendant.

I was already arraigned in the District Court. Why am I being arraigned again?

Following a preliminary examination, the district court judge can add or dismiss charges, depending on the facts elicited during the preliminary examination. The circuit court must again advise you of the charges and the possible penalties so that you understand what it is that you are facing.

Can I waive this hearing?

Yes. The court rules permit you to waive this hearing, or to do it at the end of your preliminary examination in front of the district court judge. In some courts, the hearing is automatically waived, without you having to actually sign a waiver. Your attorney will help you navigate the specific procedure of a particular court.

Can the judge increase my bond?

While the judge has the legal authority to review and change your bond at the arraignment, if you are complying with the conditions of your bond, it is unusual for the court to increase the amount of cash bail that is required for you to remain out of jail.