An arraignment is your first appearance in Municipal Court. When you are given a citation, summons or bond sheet, you are also given a court date and time to appear in Municipal Court for the initial arraignment.
The City Prosecutor reviews all charges prior to filing any charges with the municipal court. He may amend those charges to more accurately reflect the circumstances surrounding the event. Therefore, the charge that is filed against you in the municipal court may differ from the charge on the citation or bond sheet that you received from the officer.
For your appearance in court, when the Judge calls your name, you will approach the podium. The Judge will verify your identity, read the charge that has been filed against you, ask you if you understand the charge, and ask you how you intend to plead: guilty, not guilty, or guilty with explanation.
If you enter a not guilty plea because you believe you are not guilty, the case will be set for trial on a Thursday at 1:30 pm. The trial will be held in the same court room.
If you need more time before entering a plea, you may request a continuance from the Judge. If you do not enter a plea, the Judge may enter a not guilty plea on your behalf until you know what plea you want to enter.
Pleading guilty with explanation will hold the same weight as a guilty plea. You may believe there are extenuating circumstances or some information you want the Judge to know before you are sentenced.
If you enter a plea of guilty or guilty with explanation, and if the Judge has all the information necessary, the case will proceed to sentencing.