What does Arraignment mean?
Each state handles the criminal arraignment process differently. But generally, when you appear in court at a criminal arraignment you will be taken in front of a judge. You can either have your attorney with you or you can request a public defender for your case. You may also waive your right to counsel. Some states will have the judge explain the charges against you; other states will simply hand you a statement outlining the charges.
You will be asked to enter a plea at criminal arraignment. You have the right to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or in some states, no contest. Your attorney and the prosecutor can make bail recommendations, and the judge can set a bail amount, release the defendant on his own recognizance, or deny bail entirely. Bail is generally granted, but some states will denial bail for first-degree murder charges.
Finally, the court will schedule future trials and hearings. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor they will schedule a court date. For felony charges they will schedule the preliminary hearing date only, not the trial date. The trial date is scheduled later after issues of discovery, jury selection and motion hearings have been settled.
If you have not had the time to talk to your lawyer before the arraignment you generally should plead not guilty which simply means you do not want to give up any of your constitutional rights at this time.