An arraignment is a court hearing in front of a judge where a defendant is advised of the formal charges filed by the state attorney's office or law enforcement and allows the defendant to enter a plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty to the charges. If you have a private attorney, a written plea of not guilty may be entered in your behalf, and a waiver of your appearance at the arraignment hearing may be filed. If no such document has been filed with the clerk, you must appear. At the arraignment, you enter your plea to the charges. If you enter an oral plea of not guilty to the charges, a trial or pre-trial or disposition date may be set by the court at that time. If you enter a plea of guilty or no contest to the charges, you may be sentenced at that time. If you qualify for the public defender, you may ask the court at your arraignment to appoint the public defender to represent you in future court hearings.