The purpose of your arraignment is to inform you of the charge(s) against you, to provide you with a copy of the complaint (if you do not already have one) and to answer any questions you might have. You will also have the opportunity to enter a plea to the charge(s) and to set a date for your pretrial conference, trial or sentencing.
You have a right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself and to be represented by an attorney at all proceedings in your case.
NOTE: This information is important to you. Please read it carefully. If you do not understand something on this page, ask the judge to explain it when you are called to appear before the judge.
About your Plea
When you are called to stand before the judge, you will be required to plead either guilty, not guilty or no contest to the charges(s) against you.
- GUILTY: A plea of guilty means that you are admitting you did what the state accuses you of doing. It will result in a conviction for the charge(s) and there will be a record of the conviction in this court.
- NOT GUILTY: A plea of not guilty means you are denying the charge(s) against you and demanding the state prove them.
- NO CONTEST: A plea of no contest means you are not admitting guilt and not denying it. You are saying that you do not intend to contest the charges. In this case, the judge will find you guilty of the charges, if there are facts sufficient to show that you are guilty. It will result in a conviction and there will be a record of the conviction in this court.
If you plead Guilty or No Contest
If you plead guilty or no contest, you will be giving up your right to a trial, your right to be represented by an attorney, your right to confront the witness against you and to cross-examine them, your right to present evidence in your own behalf, the right to have subpoenas issued to compel witnesses of your choosing to appear and testify, your right to remain silent and your right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you plead guilty or no contest, the judge will sentence you. The sentence will usually be pronounced on the same day you enter your plea, if you consent to it and the judge finds no reason to delay the passing of the sentence.
If you plead Not Guilty
You should plead not guilty if you wish to contest the charges and have a trial, or if you feel you may wish to have a trial. You should also plead not guilty if you are not sure what to do, or if you are confused, or if you want to think about it further. A plea of not guilty has the effect of keeping your options open for a while. You can later decide to change your plea to guilty or no contest if you wish. If you plead not guilty you will be required to attend a pretrial conference with the city prosecutor.
THERE IS NO PENALTY FOR PLEADING NOT GUILTY. YOUR SENTENCE WILL NOT BE MORE SEVERE IF YOU PLEAD NOT GUILTY, NOR WILL IT BE LESS SEVERE IF YOU PLEAD GUILTY OR NO CONTEST.