A District Court Arraignment Is the First Step of the Legal Process
Video Transcribed: What is a district court arraignment? I am Stuart Ericson, I am an attorney in Wagoner. After a preliminary hearing in a criminal case, your case will be set for DCA, which stands for a district court arraignment. That is where you are in front of a district judge in the county in which you were charged, and that’s the first time you will enter a formal plea.
The pleas can be not guilty or guilty. Now, we talked about plea bargains last time. If there is no plea bargain, your formal plea will be not guilty. You’re not going to plead guilty with not knowing what the punishment might be. So your plea will be not guilty.
At this point at DCA, if a deal is maybe close, a lot of times, I will ask for a continuance or a pass of the case to another setting for a DCA to try to work the case out. If that happens, then the case is set for a plea, and the case is resolved. If no plea bargain can be reached at district court arraignment, your case is set for a jury trial.
And of course, at any time before a jury trial, a case can still work out. Plea negotiations happen all the time. A plea bargain can happen at any time. Now, of course, if we decide to fight the charges, we’re not going to be worried about a plea bargain. We will want that jury trial.
And so during the time between district court arraignment and a jury trial, that’s when we would spend time getting ready for trial. We will talk about any defenses that we’re going to present to a jury. We will talk about all the witnesses we might want to call, and all the exhibits or documents that we will want to use in the trial.
And that’s what we’ll do between that time period. So that’s basically what a district court arraignment is. It’s what you hear on the news when a big famous case hits and the news says, “They entered a plea of not guilty.” Well, of course, they entered a plea of not guilty because there’s no plea bargain.
You’re not going to plead guilty to a judge and have the judge just sentence you. So district court arraignment is again where you enter your plea for the first time. If you need my help, reach out to wagnerlawyer.com and ask for Stuart Ericson, I am the Wagoner Criminal Defense Attorney.