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If a defendant declares themself not guilty at arraignment is it mandatory that the case go to trial?

Marietta, GA |

Does it have to go through a trial or can a deal be worked out with the the DA without it making it to trial?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. A case can always be worked out before trial. Most attorneys will plead their clients not guilty at arraignment to give time to investigate the case and determine if the case will be worked out or whether the case is going to trial.


  2. You can make whatever deal that makes sense to both you and the prosecution prior to trial.

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  3. 99% of defendants plead not guilty at arraignment, and 90% of those people never go to trial.


  4. A not guilty plea is almost always the first type of plea to be entered and almost as often cases get resolved before trial. In fact a not guilty plea is what starts "change of plea" negotiations. The vast majority of cases start up as not guilty and wind up with a guilty or no contest plea. Good luck.

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  5. Typically, at arraignment, you will always enter a not guilty plea so the lawyer has time to investigate the case and review all the discovery (evidence) that the state has. After that, you can always enter a guilty plea after negotiating a deal with the prosecutor (which occurs about 90% of the time). Otherwise, a trial will be scheduled and you will take the case to trial.

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