STEP 1: ARRAIGNMENT The formal court case generally begins with an “Arraignment” setting.
In some counties this court date will be mailed by the court. Others, will generally receive their court date at the time of their release from custody. Just because no one told the person arrested that they have a court date does not mean that individual will not be charged or they will not be going to court sometime in the future.
At this setting, defendant will enter some sort of a plea to the charge. In most courts, it is automatically understood that they are entering a “Not Guilty” plea so that the defense attorney will have time to investigate the evidence in the case. Never plead guilty at “Arraignment” unless you are represented by an attorney who specifically advises you to enter such a plea. It is never in your best interest to plead guilty without the advice of counsel, even if you think you are guilty and just want to end the case immediately.
The Judge may set conditions on an individual’s release or bond such as ordering that the accused not operate a motor vehicle without a Deep Lung Breathing Ignition Interlock Device installed on their automobile or the accused must submit to random urine testing or wearing an ankle monitor.
The next court date will be set upon the individual’s plea of “Not Guilty”. The nature of this court date varies depending on what County in Texas an individual’s case is pending. In some counties, the Defense will receive a couple of what are called “No-Issue” and/or “Announcement” court settings before having to set the case for trial. Whereas, in other counties, the next scheduled court date may either be a trial setting or a “Pre-trial Motion” setting.