Former Prosecutor. Powerful Defense Advocate. Certified in the Area of Criminal Law

Arraignment – The First Court Appearance

Prepare With a Visalia Criminal Defense Attorney

This is the stage where the court takes over and law enforcement steps back. As such, this is the first time an "objective" party (the judge) will review the case. Many people feel compelled to explain themselves to the judge and tell them everything. You should resist this urge for two reasons:

  • The judge isn't going to help you. Unlike T.V. judges, real superior court judges almost never make findings of guilt or innocence.
  • When your police read you your Miranda Rights, they should have mentioned- "Anything you say can and will be used against you..." The right to remain silent is a valuable tool in your defense when you are unable to consult with an attorney right away.

The arraignment serves the limited formal purpose of beginning the court case by allowing the defendant to plead guilty or not guilty, and serving as the first opportunity for settlement (plea-bargaining).

What to expect at the arraignment:

  • The judge will call the case by your first and last name and the assigned case number. At this point you will stand before the judge at one table and a Deputy District Attorney may or may not be present at the other table.
  • The judge will ask you if you have a defense attorney, if you want a defense attorney, and if you have money with which to hire a defense attorney.
  • The judge will ask you to plead either guilty or not-guilty.
  • If you are in jail and a request is made the judge may reduce bail or release you pending trial. On the other hand, the District Attorney may bring a motion to increase your bail if they believe your case is especially bad.
  • The court will then set the next date for proceedings in the case.
    • If your case is a felony the next date will probably be the preliminary hearing
    • If your case is a misdemeanor the next date will probably be the trial date

Mr. Hagopian Knows What You Are Going Through, and He Is Committed to Getting You Through This Tough Time.

Request a Free Consultation Today.