An arraignment is a proceeding where a person enters a plea of Guilty or Not Guilty to criminal charges.
An arraignment is primarily a ministerial event and is not a time where evidence is presented or the merits of the State's case are debated.
While all unrepresented defendant's must appear for their arraignment, the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure allow an attorney to waive their client's arraignment by filing a Written Plea of Not Guilty prior to the arraignment date.
Once a Written Plea of Not Guilty is filed, neither the attorney nor the defendant are required to appear for the arraignment. I would estimate that 99‰ of attorneys file Written Pleas of Not Guilty and waive their client's arraignment.
If a defendant has not retained an attorney by their arraignment date, they must personally appear, and should advise the court they are looking for an attorney, and ask that a plea of not guilty be entered.
Most judges will then set the case of a Determination of Counsel hearing, which is a subsequent hearing intended to allow a defendant enough time to obtain an attorney.
Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby
If you or a loved one have been arrested or charged with a crime in Central Florida or the greater Orlando area, please contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby today.
The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.