As a criminal defense law firm, one of the questions we often receive is what is a criminal arraignment? A criminal arraignment is the first court appearance that someone has after being charged with a crime. 

How Should You Plead At An Arraignment?

You may remember in the infamous OJ Simpson case, where he stood in front of a judge and said, “I’m 100% percent not guilty.” And that’s what happens. At an arraignment, this is the first time for a defendant to plead to their case. 

Here in Florida, you have 3 options:

  1. You can plead guilty. 
  2. You can plead not guilty
  3. You can plead no contest. 

What Does An Attorney Do At An Arraignment?

Usually a lawyer will file a written plea of not guilty because they don’t have all of the information of the case. Criminal attorneys will want the discovery, police reports, videotapes, witness statements, and any other information that they can use to help represent their client vigorously. 

At an arraignment, if you plead guilty or no contest, you will be sentenced at that point. In fact, 90% of the time, we will enter a written plea of not guilty so we can gather the information needed to sufficiently and thoroughly represent your interests.