What to Expect at Arraignment

Arraignment is a person's first appearance before the Court when being charged with a traffic or criminal offense. The purpose of the arraignment is to find out how the defendant (the person charged) plans to plea.

When the bailiff calls your name you shall come forward and stand at the podium. At this point the Judge will ask you how you want to plead. There are three different types of pleas:

  • A PLEA of NOT GUILTY indicates that you deny the charges against you. Your case will be scheduled for a pre-trial, trial to the Court or jury trial depending on the circumstances.
  • A PLEA of GUILTY indicates you admit that the charges against you are true and you are ready to accept responsibility and the consequences for your actions. Sentence will be imposed or your case could be rescheduled for sentencing.
  • A PLEA of NO CONTEST indicates you neither deny nor admit to the charges against you, but you do accept the facts as they are presented by the arresting officer or agency. You may offer an explanation with this PLEA and then sentence will be imposed or your case will be re-scheduled for sentencing.

If you plead not guilty, your case will be reset on a Tuesday afternoon for trial. A trial means that you will have the opportunity to see and hear the evidence of the prosecution and to question their witnesses. If you wish, you may present witnesses on your own and may testify on your own behalf. After all of the evidence is presented in the trial, the prosecutor and you, or your lawyer, will have the right to make a brief argument to the Court to state your position. At the conclusion of the arguments, the Court will determine whether you are guilty or not guilty upon the evidence produced at trial.

If you plead guilty and wish to speak on your own behalf, the Judge will allow you to address the court. The Judge will then sentence you and inform you of the fine. Fines will be added to the court costs for the total amount due.

Be prepared to pay your fines on the day you come to court. A $25 "time to pay fee" will be added if you don't pay in full on the day of court. You will then be placed on a payment plan according to how much is owed. Any remaining balance at the end of your alotted time will be sent to collections.

If you owe:You must pay within:
up to $50090 days
$501-$1,2006 months
$1,201 or more1 year