Once a suspect has entered his or her first appearance, the judge schedules an arraignment, during which the judge reads the formal charges, determines whether the suspect has retained a lawyer, and then hears the suspect’s plea to each of the separate charges. The arraignment is simply a pre-trial meeting in the court to enter the pleas. It is not a trial where evidence is presented and testimony is heard. If the suspect has pleaded not guilty to any of the charges, a trial must occur, unless of course the state attorney and the defendant and defense counsel have reached a plea agreement. The criminal defense lawyer must ask for either a jury trial or a bench trial, occurring only before a judge and no jury.
The information on this page does not represent legal advice. Because the law is continually changing, some of the provisions contained herein may be out of date. It is always wise to seek counsel from an experienced criminal attorney like Kenneth Hassett.