What is an Arraignment Date?
An arraignment is a court hearing where the defendant is formally advised of the charges against them and enters a plea. The arraignment is the first time that the defendant will appear in court, and it is an important opportunity to learn about your rights and options.
What Happens at an Arraignment?
At the arraignment, the judge will read the charges against the defendant and explain their rights. The defendant will then be asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere (no contest). Some defendants or Defendant’s attorneys will ask for a pretrial to discuss potential plea offers from the prosecutor.
If the defendant pleads guilty, the judge will typically sentence the defendant that day or schedule a sentencing hearing. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the case will be reset for either a motion hearing, status hearing, trial calendar call, a pre-trial hearing or trial before a judge or a jury. In most cases, the arraignment simply signals the formal beginning of the case and triggers certain court deadlines like for the Defendant filing motions and the state providing evidence. Most cases do not resolve at arraignment.
What to Expect at an Arraignment
If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to know what to expect at your arraignment. Here are some tips:
Bring a copy of the documents your received from the police to the arraignment. This will help the court to understand the what charges you are in court for in case there is any question.
You should try to hire counsel or an attorney well before your arraignment date as the arraignment date triggers deadlines for filing motions to protect your rights and to obtain evidence from the prosecution for your case. Dress appropriately for court.
- This means wearing clean, neat, and respectful clothing.
- Be polite and respectful to the judge and the court staff.
- Listen carefully to the instructions of the judge.
- If you do not understand something, ask an attorney or a court staff member to explain it to you.
- If you have an attorney, they will be there to represent you at the arraignment. If you do not have an attorney, you will be able to apply for a public defender.
After the Arraignment
After the arraignment, the judge will set a date for your next court appearance. This may be a pretrial conference, a preliminary hearing, or a trial.
It is important to follow the instructions of the judge and to appear for all future court dates. If you fail to appear for court, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. The Judge may schedule more than one court date or may mail you additional court dates. Do not assume when you get a new court date in the mail that you are excused from previously scheduled court dates.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a crime, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options and protect your interests in court.
George C. Creal, Jr. P.C., Trial Lawyers is criminal defense law firm with over 60 years of combined experience. We have handled thousands of criminal cases, and we know the ins and outs of the legal system. We are also familiar with the latest developments in criminal law, and We are always up-to-date on the latest rulings from the courts to safeguard your rights.
If you have been charged with a crime, We urge you to contact us for a consultation. We will be happy to discuss your case with you and answer any questions you may have. We will also help you to understand your legal rights and options. We are confident that we can help you to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.