At the Arraignment, one is called upon to plead Not Guilty or Guilty. It is common to enter a plea of Not Guilty at this early stage of the proceedings, in order to preserve the right to trial. A guilty plea may be substituted for a Not Guilty plea prior to trial.
The type and timing of the plea is influenced by many factors. Importantly, guilty pleas are usually the result of negotiations between the defense lawyer and the prosecution. These negotiations, sometimes referred to as plea bargaining, can result in a favorable reduction or change of charge, and concessions from the prosecution regarding sentencing.
The entry of the Not Guilty plea triggers the speedy trial period of 6 months within which the trial must begin.
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