ARRAIGNMENT | Lawyer Appearance | Nashville | Franklin TN

When a case has been indicted by the Grand Jury, it is then assigned to the Criminal Court in the County in which you were arrested and set for arraignment.

Arraignments are held at different times in each county and follow slightly different procedures. In Williamson County, Tennessee, Arraignments are held on the last Monday of each month whereas in Davidson County, Arraignments are typically held each Wednesday.

The Court will be concerned with whether or not you have a lawyer and if not, whether you qualify for the services of the Public Defender's Office. The judge will ask you questions and/or have you fill out a paper with questions about your income, bills, and family to find out if you can afford to pay a lawyer. If you are out on bond, many times they will ask you who posted your bond. If you cannot pay a lawyer, the judge will appoint one to represent you.Your lawyer will receive a copy of the indictment against you and enter a plea of “Not Guilty” on your behalf. Most courts also require that you or your lawyer state your date of birth and a portion of your social security number. Your case is then set off several weeks to a Settlement Docket. Most Courts will give you a first review date, a second review/motion date and a final review/plea date. 

During the weeks between your arraignment and settlement, your lawyer will discuss your case with you, file motions, do investigation and research, and discuss the charges and proof with the district attorney. It is very important for you to remain in contact with your lawyer during this time. Failure to maintain contact with your attorney will hinder your case and in some occasions the attorney will file a motion to withdraw from representation.

If you retain an attorney prior to your Arraignment, your attorney may waive your appearance and on your behalf for the purpose of entering a "not guilty" plea.


RULE 10: Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure
(a) General. Before any person is tried for the commission of an offense, the person shall be called into open court and arraigned, except as provided in Rule 43.
(b) Procedure. The arraignment shall consist of the following:
(1) ensuring that the defendant has a copy of the indictment, presentment, or information before called upon to plead;
(2) reading the indictment, presentment, or information to the defendant or stating to the defendant the substance of the charge; and then
(3) asking the defendant to plead to the indictment, presentment, or information.
(c) Record. The arraignment shall be entered on the record.
(d) Jointly Charged Defendants. Defendants who are jointly charged may be arraigned separately or together in the court's discretion.

Tenn. R. Crim. P. 10

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