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Understanding Connecticut arraignments

Those accused of a crime are often initially confused about the Connecticut criminal judicial process. This confusion could lead to fear, especially if one were anxious about the long-term consequences of a trial. However, it is usually advisable to act from a considered position, informed by a study of the multiple stages of criminal proceedings.

One significant milestone in a case is called the arraignment. This is an initiation of the judicial process, in which an accused individual is formally entered into the court records as a defendant. Since the judge typically reads rights to all defendants at once — before hearing individual cases — arraignments have the potential to take a significant portion of the day, depending on docket position. 

According to the Connecticut Office of the Victim Advocate, there are many important things that could happen during an arraignment:

  • Statement of criminal charges
  • Bond review, possibly including arguments from prosecution and defense
  • Entry of plea
  • Appointment of public defense attorneys
  • Determining if defendants failed to appear

Expanding on the final point, missed arraignments could lead to the judge issuing a warrant for a defendant’s arrest. According to official statistics from the Connecticut Judicial Branch website, there were over 40,000 active failure to appear warrants active in the state at the end of June 2018.

Failure to appear is a different crime, charged in addition to the offenses that an individual must already defend against. It is therefore often wise to appear promptly if possible and to follow proper procedure in the presence of extenuating circumstances. 


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