What is an Arraignment?
An arraignment is a court hearing that is set to make certain you know the charges against you, and to find out how you plead. The arraignment allows you to enter a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty”. It is not a trial. The arraignment is usually the first contact you have with the court about a particular ticket.
In the State or Federal Court an arraignment is a court hearing where a defendat is formally notified of the charges. You have a constitutional right to be charged without unnecessary delay. If you are in custody, this is usually within two court days. Bail also may be modified at this hearing, either downward or upward depending on the circumstances. A plea can be entered on this date and future court dates are set in almost every instance.
An arraignment is the court appearance when you are notified of the charges being brought against you. It is often your first court appearance. Depending on the jurisdiction and the charges, it is also the time when your attorney enters a plea on your behalf. Sometimes bail conditions are also addressed at the arraignment.
The defendant’s first appearance in court will normally be the arraignment. A first appearance shall be conducted within 48 hours of arrest if the defendant is still in jail. If the defendant has been released on his own recognizance or has posted a bond or cash bail, the arraignment will occur within a short time period after the defendant’s release from jail. At the arraignment, the defendant is informed of the charges against him and he/she is asked to enter a plea. The plea may be one of not guilty, guilty, or no contest. If the defendant enters a plea of guilty or no contest (nolo contendere), the judge may, in most circumstances, impose sentence immediately. If the defendant enters a plea of not guilty, the matter is set for trial within 60 days of the arraignment date.
Arraignment is a court hearing at which the Judge will formally advise you of the charge(s), ask for your plea and inquire if you are represented by an attorney. You may plea ‘not guilty,’ ‘guilty,’ or ‘no contest.’ A plea of guilty or no contest effectively waives your legal rights and your right to challenge the evidence against you. As such, the attorney’s at Carsten & Ladan, P.A. strongly recommend that you consult with an attorney prior to entering such a plea. Even if you plea ‘not guilty’ at the beginning of your case, you can always change your plea at a later date, after having the opportunity to first consult with an attorney. Generally speaking, if you hire an attorney before your arraignment, he will file a Notice of Appearance and Waiver of Appearance at Arraignment, thereby preventing you from making an unnecessary court appearance.