What Does Being Arraigned Mean?

At Willis Law Firm, we understand that facing criminal charges can be overwhelming, especially when navigating the legal procedures involved. One critical stage in the criminal justice process is the arraignment, a term that may seem daunting to many individuals. In this blog post, we aim to shed light on what it means to be arraigned in Georgia offering clarity and guidance to those grappling with this aspect of their legal journey.What Does Being Arraigned Mean

An arraignment marks the formal beginning of the criminal proceedings against an individual accused of a crime. It’s a crucial step in the legal process where the defendant is formally informed of the charges against them and is asked to enter a plea. In Georgia, the arraignment serves as a pivotal moment for defendants to understand the nature of the charges they face and to begin charting their legal strategy with the assistance of their defense counsel.

Whether you’re a defendant preparing for your arraignment, recently arraigned, or seeking to broaden your understanding of Georgia’s criminal justice system, this blog post will provide insights to help you navigate this crucial stage with confidence and clarity.


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Greg and his team are absolutely incredible. Greg explained everything to me in detail, as this is the first ever time I have been arrested. Regular updates throughout the process which allowed me to get on with everyday life. 200% I would recommend Greg and his team to anyone with a DUI case."

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What Happens When You are Arraigned?

Arraignment is a formal court proceeding where the defendant is informed of the charges against them and asked to enter a plea. It is typically one of the initial stages in the criminal justice process, following the arrest and booking of the defendant. During arraignment, the defendant appears before a judge or magistrate in open court.

Arraignment in Georgia DUI Cases

In Georgia, the arraignment process is a critical juncture in DUI (driving under the influence) cases, where individuals arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs are formally charged. During the arraignment, the court officially informs the defendant of the DUI charges they face, detailing the specific statutes violated and the associated potential penalties. This hearing is a foundational aspect of the legal process, setting the stage for the subsequent legal proceedings.

At the arraignment, the presiding judge presents the charges to the defendant and inquires about their plea. Defendants in Georgia are typically offered three plea options. A guilty plea indicates the defendant’s admission to the charges, effectively waiving their right to a trial and leading directly to sentencing. Pleading not guilty signifies the defendant’s denial of the charges and their intent to contest them in a court trial, where the prosecution is tasked with proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Alternatively, defendants may opt for a nolo contendere plea, also known as no contest. This plea implies that the defendant does not admit to the guilt but also does not dispute the charges brought against them. The legal consequences of a no contest plea are similar to those of a guilty plea, but it can be strategically advantageous in certain situations, such as minimizing exposure to civil liability.

Furthermore, Georgia law permits the Alford plea, a plea agreement where the defendant maintains their innocence but concedes that the evidence presented by the prosecution is likely to persuade a judge or jury of their guilt. This plea allows the defendant to accept the legal repercussions of a guilty verdict without formally admitting guilt. The acceptance and implications of an Alford plea in Georgia vary depending on the specifics of the case and are subject to the discretion of the court. This plea option reflects the complex interplay between legal strategy and the evidentiary standards that underpin the judicial process in DUI cases.

Greg Willis has been successful at defending DUI cases (over 93% without a conviction)

He's the only lawyer in the State of Georgia to ever be recognized for all three of these accomplishments.

Received the Samurai Lawyer Award for having gone to jail for a total of 4 days in order to save his own client

Received the BadAss Lawyer Award for the biggest impact of all DUI lawyers in DUI defense in the country

Received the vote of Georgia Lawyers as a Superlawyer in DUI Law for 10 straight consecutive years

Legal Representation at Arraignment

It is essential for anyone facing DUI charges in Georgia to have legal representation at arraignment. An experienced DUI defense attorney can advocate on behalf of the defendant, explain their rights and options, and ensure that their interests are protected throughout the legal process.

Understanding what happens when you are arraigned and having knowledgeable legal representation can greatly impact the outcome of a DUI case. At Willis Law Firm, we are dedicated to providing aggressive and effective defense representation for individuals arraigned for DUI offenses in Georgia. If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges, contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help protect your rights and future.

Featured Case Results

Protecting a Professional License After a DUI and Refusal of a Blood Test

Result: DUI Dismissed with No Jail Time and No Loss of License

Challenging Admissibility of a .19 BAC Blood Test and Field Sobriety Evaluation

Result: No Jail Time, No DUI on Record, No License Suspension

What is Waiving Formal Arraignment?

Waiving formal arraignment essentially means that the defendant agrees to proceed with the legal process without the need for a formal arraignment hearing in open court. Instead of appearing before a judge to be formally notified of the charges and enter a plea, the defendant submits a written document, typically prepared by their attorney, indicating their plea.

Waiver of Arraignment in Georgia DUI Cases

In Georgia, defendants charged with DUI have the option to waive formal arraignment under certain circumstances. This decision is often made in consultation with their attorney and can have strategic implications for the defense strategy moving forward.

Implications of Waiving Formal Arraignment

Waiving formal arraignment in a legal context, such as a Georgia DUI case, can streamline the legal process by eliminating the need for a formal court hearing, thereby saving time and resources for both the defendant and the court. This waiver allows the defense team to allocate more time to other critical aspects of the case like further investigations, preparing motions, or engaging in negotiations with the prosecution. The decision to waive arraignment can also be a tactical move, especially if the defendant plans to plead not guilty and contest the charges, as it may demonstrate a readiness to proceed with trial preparations.

When considering whether to waive formal arraignment, it is important to evaluate the strength of the defense and the potential for success at trial, ensuring that any decision to waive aligns with the client’s wishes and objectives for the case. Open and clear communication between the attorney and the client is essential to make informed decisions. Consulting with an experienced DUI defense attorney is crucial for understanding the legal intricacies and making strategic choices, including the decision to waive formal arraignment.


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Can I Be Arrested When I’m Arraigned?

Yes, you can be arrested at your arraignment, although this happens under specific and limited conditions. If there are outstanding warrants against you or if you’ve violated release terms, such as missing a court date, you might be arrested during arraignment. This likelihood increases if you’ve disregarded court orders or failed to meet legal responsibilities in your case. Additionally, if new evidence or charges emerge after your initial arrest, the judge might order an arrest during arraignment, especially if the new information is compelling, although this is rare and usually happens in complex cases. Furthermore, if you’re considered a flight risk or a danger to the community, which can be the case with serious charges or a history of court no-shows, your bail might be revoked, leading to arrest. However, these scenarios are exceptions rather than the rule, with most arraignments concluding without such incidents, allowing defendants to continue with their legal proceedings.

Ensuring Your Rights Are Protected

If you have been charged with a DUI offense and face being arraigned, contact Willis Law Firm. Our decades of experience, fighting tooth and nail for our clients, speaks for itself. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Your rights deserve to be protected with passion and professionalism — let Willis Law Firm advocate for you.

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