STEP SEVEN: ARRAIGNMENT

Each criminal case gets assigned to a judge in the county or jurisdiction where the offense occurred. The assignment is usually random (each county controls the method of assignment)unless the defendant is actively on probation before a particular judge then any new cases will automatically be assigned back to that same judge. Each judge sets a schedule for his/her court that includes a number of arraignment calendars each year. Once a case has been indicted or accused, it is administratively scheduled to appear on one of the judge’s upcoming arraignment calendars. The defendant, if on bond, is sent a notice to appear as is his/her bondsman. If the defendant has counsel who has filed an entry of appearance then the attorney will receive notification as well.

Judges Gavel

 

WHAT IS AN ARRAIGNMENT?

Technically, an arraignment is the formal reading of the indictment by the judge in open court to the defendant. Almost always, counsel for the defendant will ‘waive’ the arraignment because there simply is no need for the client to be subjected to the humiliation of having the details of his alleged crimes read aloud to a courtroom full of strangers. Rather, counsel receives a copy of the indictment, which he shares with the client and goes over the details of it in private.

ENTRY OF PLEA OF NOT GUILTY

In addition to being the time for the defendant to be advised of the charges against him/her, it is also the opportunity for the defendant to enter a plea of not guilty to the charge. Even in cases where the client intends to plead guilty at some point, counsel will often enter a not guilty plea at this stage to provide him/her with had the opportunity to review the discovery (the evidence against the defendant provided by the State), and go over it with the client to make sure the idea of a plea of guilty is advisable under the facts of the case.

Prior to arraignment, counsel should file various motions to protect the rights of the accused. If that hasn’t been done, counsel can ask the court for some additional time to file the motions and that is routinely granted.

If you (or a loved one) are facing an arraignment in the near future, please feel free to give me a call today for a free and confidential consultation. 404-474-2531.

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