In Illinois, those charged with criminal offenses (which range from speeding tickets to misdemeanors and felonies) have a court appearance called an Arraignment. The Arraignment happens at the beginning of the case, often the first or second time that the Defendant appears in court.
At the Arraignment in Illinois, the judge reads the charges and possible penalties to the Defendant. When done in a “formal” fashion that process may take several minutes (or longer if the charges are numerous or complex). It is common practice for the Defendant’s attorney to waive “formal” arraignment and not require the judge to read each charge and possible penalty in its entirety. Doing so saves time without causing any harm to the case, as the defense attorney knows how to read the charges and can explain the possible penalties to the client.
Another part of Arraignment is the entry of a plea, which is almost always “Not Guilty.” The right to a Jury Trial is also often demanded at Arraignment, by way of a written Jury demand. In cases where the Defendant wishes to demand a Speedy trial under Illinois law, that demand is also generally made at arraignment, in writing.
At the end of the Arraignment, the court will enter and Order that schedules future court date(s). While each county in Illinois handles such scheduling in a different fashion, it is common to schedule a Pretrial Conference, a Final Pretrial Conference, and a Trial date for felony cases, while misdemeanor and traffic cases often just have a Pretrial Conference scheduled at first.
Tags for this legal blog article: Arraignment