What is an arraignment in a criminal case?
The arraignment date in your criminal or DUI case is the 1st scheduled court. The arraignment marks the initiation of the in-court prosecution. You have the right to have the court formally read the charges against you. In most cases, a formal arraignment on a criminal case is not necessary, and the arraignment may be “waived.” Whether you are formally arraigned or waive formal arraignment, in nearly every case, we enter a not guilty plea at the arraignment. The DUI arraignment date is also important because discovery demands, suppression motions, and any special pleas or demurrers must be filed in the court within ten (10) days of the date of arraignment.
What is required to happen at an arraignment?
O.C.G.A. § 17-7-93. Form of arraignment; plea of “guilty”; withdrawal of plea; understanding effect on immigration status
(a) Upon the arraignment of a person accused of committing a crime, the indictment or accusation shall be read to him and he shall be required to answer whether he is guilty or not guilty of the offense charged, which answer or plea shall be made orally by the accused person or his counsel.
(b) If the person pleads “guilty,” the plea shall be immediately recorded on the minutes of the court by the clerk, together with the arraignment; and the court shall pronounce the judgment of the law upon the person in the same manner as if he or she had been convicted of the offense by the verdict of a jury. At any time before judgment is pronounced, the accused person may withdraw the plea of “guilty” and plead “not guilty.”
(c) In addition to any other inquiry by the court prior to acceptance of a plea of guilty, the court shall determine whether the defendant is freely entering the plea with an understanding that if he or she is not a citizen of the United States, then the plea may have an impact on his or her immigration status. This subsection shall apply with respect to acceptance of any plea of guilty to any state offense in any court of this state or any political subdivision of this state.
O.C.G.A. § 17-7-91. Notice of date of arraignment; time for trial
(a) In all criminal cases the court shall fix a date on which the defendant shall be arraigned. The clerk of the court, at least five days prior to the date set therefor, shall mail to the accused and his attorney of record, if known, notice of the date which has been fixed for arraignment. For such first service of notice, the clerk shall receive the fee prescribed in Code Section 15-6-77. This notice may be served by the sheriff of the county in which the court is situated or his lawful deputies. If the defendant has posted a bond or recognizance, a copy of the notice shall be mailed to each surety on the bond.
(b) On the date fixed by the court the accused shall be arraigned. The court shall receive the plea of the accused and enter the plea as provided for in this chapter. In those cases in which a plea of not guilty is entered, the court shall set the case down for trial at such time as shall be determined by the court.
(c) The appearance and entering of a plea by the accused shall be a waiver of the notice required in this Code section.