An arraignment is where you enter a plea to the charges u face. Guilty,not guilty or no contest. Hire a lawyer and they will file paperwork so you do not have to appear. A pretrial is a court date where your lawyer talks to the judge and prosecutor about what direction your case will take.
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An arraignment is the first formal stage in the criminal prosecution of a case. It is where the accused formally enters a plea of guilty or not guilty. When you are represented by a lawyer prior to the arraignment, we file a written plea of not guilty, a notice of appearance and a demand for discovery. Therefore, the client nor the attorney attends the hearing. It is simply set over the a disposition, status or pre-trial conference depending on the particular jurisdiction. If you don't have a lawyer, then you must attend. You may request a court appointed lawyer if you qualify. A pre-trial conference, on the other hand, is a different stage where the parties advise the court where they are in the discovery process and when the case might be ready to be resolved by a plea or trial. You would attend all court appearances until your case has concluded. In some jurisdictions, the pretial conference is just before trial where the parties discuss pretrial motions, and any outstanding issues before the trial is conducted shortly thereafter. It doesn't sound like you are that far along in your case yet.
An Arraignment is where the State officially presents its charges to the defendant. The defendant then enters a plea of guilty(not advisable) or not guilty. There are many different monickers assigned by courts for various hearings, i.e., docket sounding, jury trial status, pre-trial conference etc.. All of them are "pre-trial hearings". In other words they occur before the actual trial begins. You are required to be at all of them unless your appearance is waived.
I agree with my colleagues. However, in many cases most issues can be dealt with at any stage. For instance a plea may sometimes be entered or bond obtained at an initial appearance, an arraignment or a pre trial. It largely depends on the court, the judge and whether you have an aggressive attorney that is willing to take steps to dispose of your case quickly.
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