The Arraignment / Pre-Trial Conference is when defendants are presented with a formal copy of the charges that have been filed against them. The process is conducted by a member of the Court who advises all present of their pre-trial rights and the time periods in which certain motions must be filed. Attorney's who have formally entered their appearance to represent a defendant must be present at the arraignment permitting the Court to conference the case. The exception to an attorney's mandatory presence is if a defendant has submitted an ARD application that has been previously forwarded to the District Attorney's office for consideration. In this instance the defendant is still required to appear before the Court for receipt of the formal charges or a bench warrant will be issued.
The Arraignment / Pre-Trial Conference permits certain defendants to take responsibility for their actions and receive positive consideration through the sentence of the Court. Generally several judges, assistant district attorney's, public defenders and conflict counsel are available to discuss a case in an effort bring about the best resolution of a case. If a case is unable to be resolved, a trial date will be assigned and member of the Court will be responsible to process the case to conclusion.