Felony Arraignment

For those charged with felonies–assuming the judge has found enough evidence to support the charges–the case is generally then set for arraignment. When defendants appear for arraignment, the charges are read to them, their rights are explained, and they enter their plea. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the court will set a date for the next step in the process–the trial. (The plea of not guilty is often the first step in plea bargaining with the prosecutor.) If the defendant pleads guilty, a date will be set for sentencing, although probation, fines, or other sentences will be determined immediately for some minor crimes.