This content is designed to give a few pointers about preparing for an arraignment in Los Angeles. While the arraignment oftentimes occurs at the first scheduled court date, there are a number of issues which should be addressed prior to this process, as you will read.
Los Angeles County Arraignment Courts may schedule 100 or more cases daily, and while it is understandable for you to want to provide an explanation, or provide evidence which may present you in a more favorable light (especially if you are not guilty), the arraignment is neither the time nor place to do so. Defendants who take this route an attempt to provide details at the arraignment risk alienating the judge; these “problem” cases will likely “trail” until the end of the day, or the next court day, as a message to others in the audience who may have similar plans to present a detailed explanation about their cases.
Criminal cases are prioritized pursuant to the Rules of Court in the Los Angeles court system, and technical scheduling requirements exist for these cases. A minor procedural mistake may change the outcome in the result, either in or against your favor. Because of specific legal rights, pitfalls, and other requirements, your first step in preparing for an arraignment is to obtain proper legal representation.
The arraignment in a Los Angeles Superior Court Criminal Case is essentially a hearing where you and your attorney will be provided information about the criminal charges alleged against you. You will likely enter “not guilty” pleas to the charges at the arraignment, or continue the arraignment until your attorney can thoroughly review the allegations, applicable laws, as well as your options. During the arraignment, the judge will also provide a synopsis of certain statutory and constitutional rights, as well as schedule future hearing dates for your case.
Preparing for Arraignment with Your Attorney
Prior to your arraignment, you should have an opportunity to explain the details of your case to your attorney, discuss your concerns and questions, and speak about possible options. Your attorney should be receptive to you, and vice versa, since you will be a “team.” A good working attorney-client relationship is extremely important in a criminal case because the stakes are so significant.
Prior to the arraignment, your attorney will likely highlight important issues. Here are 7 points of discussion:
1. Your attorney’s job is to make this process as smooth as possible for you. Keep an open line of communication with your attorney to help with your representation.
2. Avoid contact with other people involved in the case (unless otherwise told by your attorney that is allowed).
3. Strictly comply with any O.R. and Bond/Bail requirements.
4. Strictly obey all laws and court orders. If you are accused of a new case while the pending case exists, a judge will consider a change in your custodial status.
5. Continue your employment or schooling. If you are not employed or in school, speak to your attorney about pursuing one or both. Judges generally do not want to cause a loss of employment or educational opportunity, and may consider court alternatives which allow less intrusion to your day-to-day life.
6. Proper court “attire” is consistent with that of a formal job interview.
7. Allow your attorney to speak on your behalf, prior to, as well as at court. Do not speak to anyone about the case, except your attorney, unless your attorney tells you to do so.
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