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Criminal Charges: Arraignment

Following an arrest, the case will need to be started. This is done through the police writing up a report of what took place. This will offer a summary of the events and it can be useful in the remainder of the case. Typically, the person being charged will not have access to the report, but their legal representation will.

Next, the prosecutor will need to review the situation and decide what charges they are going to file. Based on the report from the officer, the prosecutor can charge for all accounts, may make less charges or may decide to make more. They will also need to determine if charges will be a felony or misdemeanor. A person who is taken into custody has a legal right for a speedy trial. This will mean that their charges will typically be filed within 48 hours, excluding any holidays, court closure days or weekends.

The next process if the arraignment. It is at this point that the defendant will be brought before the court. The judge will tell the defendant three things:

  • The charges against them
  • Their rights
  • That they can have an attorney appointed if they cannot afford one

After that, the defendant will need to give their plea. This can be a guilty, not guilty, or no contest plea. This plea will determine the next course of the trial. A no contest plea means that they are not denying the charges but the plea cannot be later used against them in a civil case. Following the please, the judge can decide to set bail, can decide no refuse bail or may allow the defendant to leave on their own recognizance and agreement that they will be back to court on their trial date. During the arraignment, having representation from a San Bernardino criminal lawyer is allowed and is recommended.