An arraignment is a hearing where you enter your plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest.
The arraignment is the first major step of court proceedings in a DUI case. In California, if you are arrested for DUI and held in jail, your arraignment may be the next day or within a few days. If you are released after your arrest, it will be within several weeks. It is highly advised that you have a DUI lawyer before your arraignment.
At your arraignment, the charges against you will be read to you. Your lawyer will then enter a plea for you. The pleas are:
- This means you are admitting you’re guilty and will not fight the charge. You should never plead guilty unless your lawyer advises you to.
- Not Guilty. This means you intend to fight the charge.
- No Contest. This means you do not openly admit guilt, but you will not fight the charge. You will be convicted and sentenced as if you were guilty.
Once you enter your plea the hearing is over. There is no jury present at this hearing. A date will be set for either your trial (if you plead Not Guilty) or your sentencing (if Guilty or No Contest).
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