One of the routine questions I am asked is" what is an arraignment ." An arraignment is that stage of the criminal proceedings where a defendant is called upon by name to enter a plea. It is at this stage of the case where the defendant is to provide notice to the defendant that a plea must be entered . In most cases a plea of not guilty is entered. The plea can always be changed to guilty at a later time.
The Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that before any defendant is tried , they must be brought into court and arraigned. At arraignment , a copy of the indictment , presentment , or information. The arraignment is not a critical stage of the trial so long as the judge requires no plea. In fact , a defendant can waive his presence at the arraignment as long as his or her attorney is present with a written waiver and enters a plea of not guilty.
The arraignment is the first step in the criminal court process under Tennessee criminal procedure.