if you have been cited or arrested for a criminal offense, you have likely been given a court date on which you must appear before the criminal Judge. It is imperative that you appear at this hearing, referred to as the arraignment. If you do not appear, a warrant can be issued for your arrest.
At the arraignment, you will be read your rights, the potential sentence that you are facing and be given an opportunity to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. What many people do not know is that you also have the option of continuing the hearing, if you would like.
Everyone has the right to a speedy trial. This means that once you have been arraigned, your case must be heard within a set period of time. If it is not, your right can potentially have been violated. If you continue your arraignment, the Judge will ask if you are waiving time, and you will have to agree in order to receive a continuance. Overall, waiving time does not necessarily hurt your case, but to be absolutely sure, it is always advisable to contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney.
People will usually request a continuance for several reasons:
- To obtain discovery:
Discovery includes video surveillance from the arrest and a police report. These items are necessary in order to make a powerful argument and provide necessary evidence to the Court. These items must be requested from the Court. If they are not requested, you will not be able to obtain them. A Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney will know precisely how to obtain the discovery and can get it efficiently and directly from the prosecutor’s office.
If you do not have discovery at the first arraignment date, it is a good idea to continue the hearing. This way you can state your case knowing exactly what evidence is on the table.
- To hire counsel
If you appear at the arraignment without an attorney, you will be granted a continuance to obtain an attorney. This is your constitutional right. If you inform the court that you would like time to seek the help of an attorney and to discuss your case, the court will grant it. It is a good idea to consult with a criminal defense attorney. They know the court system and will be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case.