First court appearance
Whether this is your first experience with the criminal justice system or you have had involvement before, your arraignment starts the process of your court proceedings. Depending on the county you live in, an arraignment may take different forms.
You will be advised what you are being charged with. You will be asked if you are charged by your true and correct name. Generally, an arraignment dictates the pace of your case. You will generally enter pleas of not guilty, deny any enhancements and decide whether or not you want to waive time.
On felony matters, you most often want to give your attorney time to prepare the case. Some courts put over arraignment so as to preserve your speedy trial rights. This provides attorneys time to review the case, hire investigators and develop your defense. Then when ready you enter a plea and do not waive time so your case proceeds as fast as possible. If the court does have you enter a plea, then often it is with a time waiver so you can hire an attorney.
On misdemeanor matters, clients often get confused by the process. The same factors apply, advising you of charges, and verifying your name. Generally a judge will ask what you would like to do with your case. They will offer an opportunity to resolve. The judge will hear the case overview from the District Attorney and the offer and convey that offer to you. They will ask if you would like to accept the offer or consult an attorney.
Even if you feel like this is a good option to resolve your case, having a skilled attorney on your side can help you in this process. An attorney will analyze everything that occurred in your interaction with police, and often can make arguments for a better deal than was offered at arraignment.
See Criminal – Superior Court of CA – County of San Joaquin (sjcourts.org) for information on criminal cases in San Joaquin County.
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Griffin Legal Defense is located on the third floor of the historic Cort Tower building in downtown Stockton. Designed by L.B. Dutton and built by the Commercial & Savings Bank in 1915, it was the second skyscraper to be constructed in Stockton. We are conveniently located within walking distance of the Superior Court and all of the downtown amenities.