An arraignment is a formal and very brief court proceeding which typically signals the formal beginning of a criminal case whether in state or Federal court.
At or immediately before the arraignment, the formal charging document is filed with the clerk of court and a copy given to the defendant and his or her attorney. The charging document can be an indictment or what is called an “information”. An indictment is “returned” by a grand jury; an information is filed by the prosecutor without having been presented to a grand jury. There is no meaningful difference between an indictment and an information.
At the arraignment, your lawyer will acknowledge receipt of the charging document, waive formal reading of the charges in open court, enter a plea of NOT GUILTY and usually, invoke discovery (a procedure whereby evidence is exchanged so that, theoretically, there are no surprises at trial or before a plea).
An arraignment typically takes only two or three minutes. If you are charged with a crime and are scheduled to be arraigned, call us immediately. We will represent you at your arraignment; sometimes, you will not need to appear since we will file the necessary documents on your behalf.