Criminal Court Arraignment: The purpose of an Arraignment is for the defendant to inform the court their Plea. Find out how to Plea to preserve your right to retain criminal defense.

Don’t Plead “Guilty” to DUI or Criminal Charge before Consulting a Good DUI and Criminal Attorney who defends Tempe AZ DUI and Criminal Charges
Guilty verses Not Guilty plea to Tempe DUI or Criminal Charges
Among other reasons, the primary purpose of an Arraignment in criminal court is for you to inform the court on how you wish to “plea”. It is never a good idea to plead guilty to any Arizona crime or DUI or criminal charge before consulting a DUI or criminal defense attorney. Arizona has some of the toughest DUI and criminal laws and penalties in the country. You should retain an experienced Arizona DUI and criminal attorney to defend you. Good criminal defense attorneys may be able to use certain defenses that you were not aware of. These defenses may lead to a reduction or dismissal of your DUI or criminal charges. In the least you should consult a Tempe Criminal or DUI lawyer to discuss your charges, consequences of a guilty plea and your defense options.

Arizona Criminal Court – Arraignment Location
With regard to Tempe criminal or DUI charges, you will be given a complaint (if you are in custody or delivered a summons (if you are not in custody). This document will provide instructions for your Arraignment location, date and time you are required to appear in court for your Arraignment.

The court location for which you are required to appear is generally determined by the nature of the charges, and jurisdiction where you were charged. Most felony arraignments are held in Arizona Superior Courts. Most misdemeanors are held in Arizona Justice Courts. However, some felonies can initially begin in a lower court such as Arizona justice courts. Each city has its designated criminal courts for felony arraignments and misdemeanor arraignments will be heard.

Criminal or DUI Arraignment in Tempe
With regard to your Arraignment, If you have not retained a DUI or criminal defense lawyer, you must appear at the court location, date, and time scheduled. If you fail to appear, a bench warrant may be issued for your arrest under criminal code:
1) “A.R.S. 13-2506 in the second degree; classification” Failure to appear for Misdemeanor Charges;
2) “A.R.S. 13-2507 in the first degree; classification” Failure to appear for Felony Charges
If you have retained a Tempe DUI or criminal attorney, they will give you further instructions about whether or not you need to appear for the arraignment on the pre-scheduled date. In many cases your defense attorney can vacate the arraignment date, through alternative legal channels so you do not have to appear in person.

What Happens at an Arraignment in a Tempe Criminal Courts
Among other reasons, the primary purpose of your Arraignment is to advise the court of how you wish to plea to the criminal or DUI charges. You can also expect the some or all of the following items to take place: the court will also confirm your identity and current contact information; explain your rights; read your formal charges; advise you of the potential range of penalties if convicted; find out if you plan to retain a criminal defense attorney.

Types of Pleas that can be Entered into at Your Arraignment
There are three possible pleas to a criminal charge:
“Not Guilty” – This means that you are denying guilt. In this case, the burden of proof is with prosecution to prove your guilt of the criminal charges against you. If you enter a plea of not guilty on your arraignment date, the Judge will set your case for either a pre-trial conference or a formal trial date.

“Guilty” – You admit that you committed the act charged in the complaint(s)l that the act is prohibited by law; and that you have no legal defense for your act. For Misdemeanor charges, the Tempe AZ Court judge will usually proceed with your sentencing at this time. For Felony charges they will usually set a new date and time in the near future for a hearing concerning your sentencing.

“No Contest” – This means you are not admitting you are guilty; but that you also do not wish to challenge the charges or evidence at a trial; and you will accept the conviction, sentencing and punishments of the criminal charge. The judge will proceed with your sentencing at this time. For felonies a new hearing for sentencing will be scheduled.


If you have an outstanding warrant for arrest in Arizona or have been arrested in Maricopa County for AZ DUI, DWI, Drunk Driving or any other criminal charges contact the Law Office of James Novak, for your Free Consultation at (480) 413-1499. Speak directly with experienced Arizona criminal Defense and DUI & Criminal defense Attorney, James Novak (Former Prosecutor). The Law Office of James Novak is devoted 100% to defending DUI, Drug & criminal charges in valley wide within Maricopa County including Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Phoenix, Chandler, Gilbert Arizona, East Valley, AZ and surrounding cities within the Phoenix metro and Maricopa County Areas.

This blog has been posted for general public informational purposes only. All articles by this author are intended to raise awareness and generate discussion on a variety of Arizona State Law issues and topics. Note that Arizona legislation, laws, criminal code and AZ DUI & criminal laws and penalties frequently change. If you have any active criminal or DUI or criminal defense matters related to this topic, it is important that you consult or hire an Arizona criminal or AZ DUI or criminal defense law firm in the jurisdiction of Arizona where you received your charges of up to date information on the laws, penalties and defense options.

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