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What is an arraignment?

The defendant’s first appearance in court will normally be the arraignment. An arraignment shall be conducted within forty-eight (48) hours of arrest if the defendant is still in jail. If the defendant has been release on his own recognizance of has posted a bond or cash bail, or has been issued a citation, the arraignment will occur within thirty (30) days after the defendant’s release from jail or issuance of the citation.

At the arraignment, the defendant is informed of the charges against him and he/she is asked to enter a plea. The pleas may be one of not guilty, guilty, or no contest. If the defendant enters a plea of guilty or no contest (nolo contendere), the judge may in most circumstances, impose sentence immediately. If the defendant enters a plea of not guilty, the matter is normally set for trial within sixty (60) days of the arraignment date. Prior to entering a plea, the defendant is also informed of his constitutional rights as follows:

  1. I may plead guilty, nolo contendere, or not guilty to the offense(s) with which I am charged. If I plead guilty or nolo contendere, I give up the right listed below. If I plead not guilty I will be given a court date for trial.
  2. I have the right to a speedy trial within sixty (60) days from the date of my arraignment.
  3. At trial, I have the right to make the City (prosecutor) prove the charge(s) against me beyond a reasonable doubt.
  4. To do this, the City is required to call witnesses, and produce evidence. I have the right to confront and cross-examine those witnesses.
  5. I also have the right to use the subpoena power of this Court to bring in witnesses and evidence in my own behalf.
  6. I have the right to remain silent at trial and not incriminate myself. I do not have to make any statement, not do I have to testify.
  7. I have the right to be represented by an attorney, and if I am charged with an offense for which I face possible jail time, I have the right to re represented by a court appointed attorney if I cannot afford to hire my own attorney.
  8. I understand that the maximum penalty for a misdemeanor is up to six (6) months in the Washoe County Jail and a fine up to $1,000.
  9. I have the right to appeal any judgment of the Sparks Municipal Court. I understand that I must file the appeal within ten (10) days of judgment.