- November 20, 2017
After you are arrested, your first court appearance is known as an arraignment. The judge will read you your rights along with any possible penalties for your criminal charges. You’ll then need to enter a guilty or not guilty plea.
If you plead guilty – you will be sentenced right then and there and will not have the opportunity to explain your situation to the judge and have him or her take your unique circumstances into consideration.
If you plead guilty, it is near impossible to be able to undo that and plead not guilty later. Your case will be over and you will accept whatever punishment the judge gives you, with no opportunity to speak to the prosecutor, look at the evidence or negotiate a known plea outcome.
When you plead not guilty, it allows you to explore your options and better understand your rights.
If you plead not guilty, the court will transfer your case into what is known as a contested case. A prosecutor will be assigned to the case and your criminal matter is assigned a cause number.
The judge will then likely set certain conditions of bail. Bail will allow you to stay out of jail while your case is pending.