What Happens After I Have Been Cited for a Los Angeles Criminal Charge?

When you have been arrested for a Criminal Offense in Southern California you are sure to be anxious and scared as to what will happen next, not knowing what it is that you should do first.

If you are not arrested and taken to the police station you will be issued a citation filled out by the arresting officer. The citation will contain the penal code of the offense you are being cited for, will note whether it is an infraction or misdemeanor and will have the name of the officer along with other details of the arrest including any notes and location. Most importantly, your citation will have a court date and location listed at the bottom. It is extremely imperative that you show up to the court date. An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney may make this appearance on your behalf so that you do not have to worry about taking time off for work or your busy schedule.

That first court date is an arraignment and plea. It is at this time that Prosecution would present their offer for sentencing and you would stand before the judge and enter your plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. If you have hired an attorney, the attorney will stand before the Judge and speak on your behalf.

If you enter a plea for guilty or no contest, the Judge gives you a sentence and your case is concluded. However, if you enter a plea of not guilty, you move onto the pre trial process in which your attorney, or you ( if you are representing yourself) will present your argument through motions and evidence in hopes that the case will settle. If the case does not settle you will move onto the trial process.

Much like most of the legal field, the court process is not black and white. There are extensions granted, and your arraignment and plea may even be pushed back a few weeks if your attorney feels that it is crucial to present a stronger case to the Judge. The overall goal is to reduce or dismiss your charges so that you keep your record clean and sentence minimal. When you have been arrested it is natural to want the matter resolved as quickly as possible. Hiring someone who has handled cases like yours for years will not only reduce your own anxiety and stress but will also ensure that you have the best possible chance in getting the outcome that you want.