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Definition - What does Arraignment mean?

An arraignment is the first step in the state's process to prosecute a driver for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is also the first chance for the driver, who is generally out on bail and awaiting a court date, to enter their not guilty or guilty plea. The arraignment allows the driver to hear the state's formal charges against them and generally takes only a few minutes to complete.

Prior to the arraignment, the driver will have a meeting with their hired or assigned DUI lawyer and hear their rights during the arraignment. General rights include 1) the right to legal counsel, 2) the right to a trial and 3) the right to enter a plea. The DUI lawyer will also answer all the defendant's DUI questions and give additional information for the DUI case.

During the arraignment the judge will confirm the name and address of the defendant, and the state's prosecutor will read the charges against the defendant. The defendant has the right to waive the reading but not their rights. The defendant also has the right to review the preliminary police report of the DUI arrest and enter their plea. The defendant may enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. A not guilty plea allows the defendant to request another court date for a trial.

The judge generally asks additional questions and verifies that the defendant understands their rights. The judge will also decide if the defendant should be released or what conditions should be met to be released. The last step in the arraignment is to schedule the date for the DUI trial. Most trials are scheduled within 2 or 3 weeks of the arraignment.

Related Links

  • Arraignment and Media -- Michigan receiver Darryl Stonum has pleaded not guilty to a drunken driving charge.

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