What is an Arraignment?

Facing criminal charges in San Diego?  The first part of the court process is the arraignment.  It’s a pretty straight-forward deal: you show up in the courtroom before the judge and are advised of your Constitutional rights and you are informed of the charges that are being brought against you, Then you are held to answer those charges.

Your Constitutional rights at an arraignment include the right to be represented by an attorney (or a public defender if you can’t afford your own), the right not to incriminate yourself, the right to a speedy trial, the right to a jury and the right to call and face witnesses that are being brought against you.

After you have been advised of your rights and the charges being brought against you, you must enter a plea. Your choices are as follows: guilty, not guilty or no contest.  If you plea guilty or no contest then you might receive your sentence at that time if you waive your right to have them in the statutory time period set forth in the code or they will set another court date for sentencing. If you plead not guilty, the prosecution, usually someone from the City or District Attorney’s office, is allowed time to perform further investigation in their case against you.  However, this also gives your criminal defense attorney time to gather all of the evidence against you and mount as strong a defense for you as possible.

After the plea has been entered, the judge will decide whether to set bail, change the bail amount, let you go or keep you in custody.  A lot of factors go into a judge’s decision, but unless it’s a pretty major crime, you’ll usually be free to go on your own recognizance, meaning that you agree to come back for the trial and other court hearings.

It’s important for you to know all your rights and options when facing an arraignment in criminal court, which is where a skilled and experienced attorney comes in.  In fact, often with misdemeanors, your attorney is allowed to appear before the judge for your arraignment on your behalf.  At the Seneca Law Group, we have made a name for ourselves by giving your case personal attention and zealously defending your rights.  Our goal is to make sure you know your rights and receive a fair and impartial trial.

If you’ve been arrested for criminal charges in San Diego or the surrounding area, give us a call at (619) 630-8529 now to set up a free consultation so we can advise you of your rights and guide you through the complicated legal process.

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