An arraignment is generally your first appearance in court for a criminal citation or charge. During the arraignment the Judge will inform you of the charges and of your rights, which include:

  1. To have a lawyer present with you at all hearings.
  2. To have a lawyer appointed at public expense if you cannot afford to hire one to represent you.
  3. To represent yourself without a lawyer.
  4. To a public and speedy trial.
  5. To cross examine any witness who testifies against you.
  6. To call witnesses to testify on your behalf, and have the Court compel their attendance.
  7. To testify or not testify yourself. If you choose not to, no one can make you testify.
  8. To appeal if you are convicted after a not guilty plea.

At that time, the Judge will ask you whether you plead “guilty” or “not-guilty”. If you plead “guilty” the Judge may then impose a sentence and fines against you or may wait until another hearing. If you plead “not-guilty” then the Judge will set a date for your trial and/or a date for the next hearing.

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