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Southern California Criminal Arraignment

If you have been arrested on suspicion of criminal activity, you will be given a Notice to Appear. The Notice to Appear will indicate the date and place where you must appear before a judge to have your case heard. It is always best to be accompanied by a skilled criminal defense attorney who understands the criminal arraignment process and can explain your rights and options. At Hoffman & Associates, we have over 30 years of courtroom experience in California and have successfully defended thousands of clients facing all types of criminal charges.

Your first court appearance is called an arraignment. What happens at the arraignment includes the following:

  • The prosecutor will make you an offer
  • The judge will ask you to enter a plea
  • You will be given discovery
  • The judge will inform you of your right to seek counsel
Understanding the Prosecutor's Offer in a California Arraignment Hearing

Prosecutors have many cases they need to deal with, and will offer you a reduced sentence for pleading guilty. This plea helps clear up the prosecutor’s caseload and results in fewer cases being sent to trial. A guilty plea also helps save time and money for all parties involved. What you need to understand is that the prosecutor does not have your best interests in mind. What seems like a good offer at first glance, may not be one that is beneficial to you. The only way to determine if the prosecutor’s offer is a good one is for you to consult with an experienced California criminal defense attorney.

How Should You Plead to Criminal Charges?

The judge will ask you how you want to plead to the charges —guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If you plead guilty, you will be given a sentence by the judge and your case is completed. If you plead no contest, the judge will also impose a sentence and your case is closed. If you plead not guilty, your case will be set for a pre-trial hearing.

Knowing the Evidence and Facts

At the arraignment you are able to receive a copy of the law enforcement officer's report from the night of your arrest. This report will be entered as evidence against you, Knowing what is in the report, and the facts presented, will help when you appear before the judge.

Your Right to Seek Counsel

At your criminal arraignment, the judge will inform you of your right to counsel. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you for free or at a reduced cost. Additionally, the judge will give you a continuance so that you can to speak to a qualified criminal defense attorney regarding your case. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can explain exactly what charges you are facing, and what the potential consequences may be, before you enter a plea.

At Hoffman & Associates, we offer a consultation to discuss the facts surrounding your case. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and let us fight for your rights and reputation in court. We represent clients throughout California.

Los Angeles Criminal Lawyers Blog - Arraignment