Your arraignment date is the appearance date listed on your citation. At arraignment, the judge will go over the charges and your rights. At this hearing you will enter a plea to the charges, which will determine how your case proceeds.
This is a criminal matter, understand your rights:
When it is your time to provide the judge a plea, you have three options:
- Plead guilty
If you choose to plead guilty, you are admitting that you committed that is alleged. The court may impose sentence that day.
Possible penalties include:
- A fine
- Jail (for some violations)
- Community service
- Suspension or restriction of your driving privileges (traffic)
- Points on your driving record (traffic)
- Plead no contest
Under this plea, you are neither admitting nor denying the charges against you and are telling the court that you do not intend to contest the charges. The penalty may be the same as a guilty plea. The judge may consider an explanation before imposing a fine or penalty.
- Plead not guilty
This means that you are denying you committed the charge(s) against you. The Court will give you another court date for a trial or a pre-trial conference. This option would provide you or your attorney a hearing to discuss your case with the prosecutor to see if there is a resolution that can be reached, or if a date needs to be set for trial.
If you choose this route, there are additional rights for you to understand:
- You have the right to be present at all future proceedings. If you fail to appear for any proceeding other than sentencing, that proceeding may be held regardless of your absence, you may be charged with an offense for failure to appear, and a bench warrant may be issued for your arrest. If you fail to appear for trial, trial may be held in your absence and you may be convicted.
- If convicted, you will be required to appear for sentencing. If you choose not to appear, and your absence prevents you from being sentenced within ninety days from the conviction, you may lose the right to a direct appeal.
- You have the right to trial in this matter.
- Discovery is available from the Prosecutor's office, as provided in rule 15.1, Rules of Criminal Procedure, on or before your first pre-trial conference