Procedurally, a misdemeanor arraignment is a hearing where the Defendant (individual charged) enters a plea of either guilty or not guilty to the formally filed charges. It is also a hearing where the issue of bail is often addressed by the court. Although in most first offense driving under the influence (DUI) cases, bail is not required, on subsequent offences, it can be.
In some courts we enter a not guilty plea at the arraignment and continue the matter to a future date so that evidence may be reviewed and the defense strategy initiated. In certain courts, however, an alternative to entering a plea at arraignment would be simply to request an indicated sentence from the judge and motion to continue the arraignment hearing to a new date. This will have three distinct effects. First, it will allow you to lock in a sentencing offer from the judge which will most likely prove better than the sentence that the prosecutor would have asked for. Second, would be to allow the defendant the opportunity to obtain the discovery (police reports) from the court. Third, it will offer time for reviewing and strategizing potential defenses based on the prosecutor's evidence. Utilizing this strategy will allow a defendant the opportunity to make an educated and informed decision as to the best manner in which to proceed on their case.
There also exists circumstances which would cause a defendant to enter a plea of guilty at the first arraignment. Most commonly this is done when the prosecutor or court fails to properly file a case. Examples of this would include a case that has been filed as a first or second DUI within ten years when in actuality there are prior DUIs which have not been alleged in the complaint. In a state where third offense DUI convictions come with a mandatory minimum of 120 days in custody and a fourth offense DUI can subject a defendant to state prison, entering a plea to a first or second DUI at arraignment can usually be accomplished in exchange for no custody.
The arraignment is an important element of each case. That stated, having the experience and knowledge of Attorney David Welch on your side can significantly affect the outcome in your case.