What is an arraignment?

An arraignment is a criminal court proceeding where a person enters an initial plea to the charging document.

What happens at arraignment?

The prosecutor or court reads the Information to you.  Defense attorneys often "waive formal reading." 

The defense attorney may file a written plea of not guilty, and waive arraignment, or enter an oral plea of not guilty. 

You are entitled to "reasonable time" to prepare for trial. This means that the arraignment is the beginning of the process, not the end

You may plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest (with consent of the court).

Unless your attorney has reached an agreement with the State, you will rarely plead guilty or no contest at arraignmentYou are entitled to time to obtain discovery, that is the evidence against you, and to have your attorney investigate the case.  If you enter a plea of not guilty at arraignment, the judge will simply pass your case for a pretrial hearing and potentially a trial date, usually months away. 

Here is a typical arraignment dialogue -

"Your honor, I'm in receipt of a one count Information.  We waive its formal reading.  We reserve the right to attack the legal sufficiency. We enter a plea of not guilty and ask for a pass date to obtain and review discovery."
The judge will then typically pass the case for a status pretrial court date typically between 2-4 weeks out.

After the arraignment, the judge will typically pass the case for a pretrial hearing

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