Arraignment in Kansas

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In Kansas, after an arrest, the authorities must take the arrested person “without unnecessary delay” before a magistrate for an initial appearance (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 22-2901).

(For more information on initial court appearances and arraignment, including what’s involved in the latter, see Arraignment: Getting to Court. Also see How should I plead at arraignment?)

Unnecessary Delay

There are at least two reasons the law requires a timely initial appearance:

  • to make sure the police don’t unlawfully detain the accused and subject him or her to improper interrogation, and
  • to ensure that an officer of the court advises the arrestee of constitutional rights.

Whether an unreasonable delay between arrest and initial appearance violates constitutional rights depends on the specific facts and circumstances of the situation. (State v. Wakefield, 267 Kan. 116 (1999).)

Arrest With and Without Warrant

If a person is arrested by warrant within the county where the crime allegedly occurred, the authorities must promptly take him or her before a magistrate of the court that issued the warrant. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 22-2901(1).)

The authorities must take someone they’ve arrested on probable cause, but without a warrant, to the nearest available magistrate. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 22-2901(1).)

Whether or not there is a warrant, if the suspect is arrested outside of the county where the crime allegedly occurred, the authorities may take him or her to the county of the crime. However, the arrestee can request that the officer take him or her before the nearest available magistrate. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 22-2901(2).) (Those arrested pursuant to a bench warrant don’t have this choice—the authorities must take them before the magistrate who issued it. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 22-2901(6).))


At the initial appearance, the magistrate will fix the terms and conditions of the defendant’s release (including bail). If the first appearance is in a different county than where the crime occurred, the magistrate has the option of releasing the defendant on bail in an amount no less than that listed on the warrant. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 22-2901(3).)

Those arrested for certain restraining order violations cannot post bail until after the initial appearance as long as that appearance happens within 48 hours of the arrest. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 22-2901(7).)

Talk to a Lawyer

The information in this article should not replace the advice of a licensed attorney. Anyone who has been arrested should immediately seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, who can fully explain the applicable law.

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