Arraignment

Final

A criminal proceeding at which the defendant is read the charge or charges and asked to enter a plea. The essence of the arraignment is the act of pleading (e.g., guilty, not guilty, no contest) to the formal charge or charges, and although an arraignment may be continued or postponed, its goal is to obtain the defendant’s plea. The term is sometimes incorrectly used to mean the defendant’s “first appearance” or “initial appearance,” but the arraignment needn’t be the first appearance. As correctly noted in Black’s and other sources, the law regarding arraignments varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and is typically explained by court rules or statutes governing those jurisdictions.

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