The Law Offices of Gregory McMillan and Associates

What is Arraignment and do I have to show up to court?

By - Isaiah
22.11.19 03:01 PM

Everything Needed to Know About Arraignment Hearings in Georgia

Arraignment in Georgia is governed by the Uniform Rules Superior Courts of the State of Georgia and those rules are referenced hereto. Is usually considered the first formal court date outside of bonding hearings and or jail appearances that may or may not take place prior. We are entitled to discovery after the Arraignment and may file subsequent motions. However, we only have roughly 10 days to file subsequent motion such as Probable Cause hearings or may forever lose that right to have such pre-trial hearings.

Who sets Arraignments in Georgia?

The judge, or the judge's designee, shall set the time of arraignment unless arraignment is waived either by the defendant or by operation of law. Rule 30.

Here, at Gregory McMillan and Associates, we require that clients keep their address current or updated with the courts. If it is not updated with the courts we can submit a motion for change of address for you. We also receive notices and will call and confirm timing of Arraignment once in receipt. Notice of the date, time, and place of arraignment shall be delivered to the clerk of the court and sent to attorneys of record, defendants, and bondsmen. 

What Happens at Arraignments?

Before arraignment the court shall inquire whether the accused is represented by counsel and, if not, inquire into the defendant's desires and financial circumstances. If the defendant desires an attorney and is indigent, the court shall authorize the immediate appointment of counsel. Upon the call of a case for arraignment, unless continued for good cause, the accused, or the attorney for the accused, shall answer whether the accused pleads "guilty," "not guilty" or desires to enter a plea of nolo contendere to the offense or offenses charged; a plea of not guilty shall constitute the joining of the issue.

Upon arraignment, the attorney, if any, who announces for or on behalf of an accused, or who is entered as counsel of record, shall represent the accused in that case throughout the trial, unless other counsel and the defendant notify the judge prior to trial that such other counsel represents the accused and is ready to proceed, or counsel is otherwise relieved by the judge.

How are Criminal Matters Conducted on or after Arraignment?

Criminal matters at or after the arraignment, pre trial conferences may be scheduled as the judge deems appropriate. Such pre trial conferences shall be attended by the attorneys who will actually try the case. At the pre trial conference: (A) All motions, special pleas and demurrers not previously determined shall be presented to and heard by the judge. Any and all pending motions not called to the judge's attention at the pre trial conference shall be deemed to have been abandoned and waived; however, at the judge's discretion and for good cause, such matters may subsequently be heard.

At the discretion of the judge, the disposition of any matter brought before the court may be postponed. (B) To the extent possible without revealing confidential trial strategies, the attorneys shall inform the judge of probable evidentiary problems known to them or any other matter which might delay the trial so the judge may take any necessary action before the trial to avoid a delay. (C) If possible, the judge shall set a firm trial date. (D) Counsel are encouraged to enter into reasonable stipulations. 

We typically waive Arraignment, plea not guilty, and request 10 days for subsequent motions. Once the judge accepts our waiver of Arraignment, you are not required to show up to that court once we confirm with you regarding the same.

It is always critical to reach out before your Arraignment so an attorney can determine whether your case can be handled by way of pre-trial hearings. These pre-trial hearings can result in your case being dismissed, charges dropped, or reduction in proposed sentences. Remember, motions for pre-trial hearings has to be filed shortly following the Arraignment. Please don't risk going to trial if your case can be resolved during some various types of pre-trial hearings.

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