Articles Posted in Arraignment

There are thousands of attorneys practicing criminal defense throughout California. The law is the same throughout the state, as is the criminal procedure and court system, so why does it matter if you have a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney to handle your Los Angeles Criminal case? Because reputation, knowledge, and relationships play a big deal in the outcome of your case.

When an attorney has been practicing in Los Angeles, specifically the court house in which your case is being heard, for over thirty years, there is a benefit to your case. That attorney knows the prosecutors, the clerks, and the Judges. In turn, the prosecutors, and the Judges know the attorney. They know what to expect, what to anticipate, and how to best resolve the case in the most efficient way possible.

The attorneys at Hoffman & Associates have built a reputation with the officers. They are proactive and efficient when it comes to certain offenses. The attorney’s will reach out to the officers to give statements, to cooperate and work with them on the investigation. Officers now know our firm as having this reputation. When they see our name on paperwork, or that a person is being represented by our firm, they expect efficient resolution, cooperative clients and knowledgeable attorneys, They appreciate that, and are more willing to work with our firm to help reduce or dismiss cases.

The very first step in a criminal offense is its filing. Many people do not understand how the process works, and mistakenly believe that it is always too late to prevent or avoid any charges. This is not true. The role of a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney can play a significant role in the positive outcome of your case depending on how quickly you act to retain counsel.

Let’s walk through the stages of the case to get a full understanding of the process by way of example, and the attorney’s role at each stage.

David is arrested for a Los Angeles theft charge. At this point David has not been charged with any type of criminal offense. There is nothing on his record, other than an arrest. No charges have been filed, and he has certainly not been found guilty of anything.

If you have had criminal charges filed against you, you will need to appear before the Judge of the criminal court. The first appearance is called an Arraignment. At the Arraignment you will be given the opportunity to enter a plea, or to ask for a continuance if you wish to retain counsel.

The prosecutor will also talk to you during the Arraignment and make you what is called a plea bargain. A plea bargain essentially asks that you plead guilty for a lesser than usual sentence for the charges against you. This is a chance for you to negotiation and bargain with the prosecutor. But how do you do that if you do not know the full facts, if you do not have all the evidence, and you do not know the law? This is why it is extremely important to retain a Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer.

Experienced and knowledgeable legal professionals, like those at Hoffman and Associates know when to push back, negotiation, and bargain, and when to concede and advise a guilty plea. They know what will be the best possible option for you, and will lay out all the pros and cons, so that you can make an informed decision.

When you hire a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney, you make the best possible decision you can for your case, and for your future. When faced with criminal charges, you have not yet been convicted, you have merely been charged. This means that the court feels that there is a high probability you have committed a crime, but until you enter a plea of guilty, or are found guilty, you have not been convicted. The earlier you retain counsel, and take a proactive stance on your case, the more likely your case may be dismissed or reduced.

There are some significant benefits to hiring a Criminal attorney, rather than doing it yourself. All of the benefits come together to ensure your best possible outcome, and to help keep your peace of mind.

Court Appearances

If you have made the decision to hire a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney to represent you on the criminal charges against you, you have made the best decision for your future. A Criminal Lawyer has extensive experience and knowledge with the court system and with the prosecutors working on your case. This makes the whole process efficient, and stress free.

If you have an attorney representing you in Court, and you are being charged with a misdemeanor, you do not have to be present in Court. Your attorney can appear on your behalf. The first appearance in Court is called the Arraignment. As stated, you do not need to appear at the Arraignment if you have an attorney representing you. If you do not have an attorney representing you, you will need to appear in Court to defend yourself. If you do not appear timely, then a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest. You will then not only face the charges you were called into Court for, but will also have to defend yourself against the bench warrant and Failure to Appear charges.

Your attorney will talk to you in depth regarding what will happen at your Arraignment, whether you choose to appear or not. If you have any questions, it is a good idea to speak to your attorney about your questions so that you fully understand the process.

If you have been arrested for a criminal offense, you have not been found guilty. The court has to make a finding of your guilt, either through a full trial, or through a plea entered by you. The very first appearance you make in Court is called an Arraignment.

At the Arraignment, the following things will happen:

  1. You will be asked to enter a plea, whether it is guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
  2. You will be read the offense you are being charged with and the potential consequences you may face
  3. You will have the opportunity to talk to the Prosecutor regarding the charges against you
  4. You will be offered a plea bargain in exchange for your guilty plea

The arraignment is a court ordered appearance. If you are given a citation, it will state on the citation the date you must appear in court. If you fail to appear, it is a court violation referred to as a Failure to Appear.

When you fail to appear in Court, the Judge will order a Bench Warrant. A bench warrant allows officers or other authorities to arrest you at any time and take you into custody. It is highly advisable that if you have failed to appear in court, that you appear as soon as possible to explain your failure to appear to the Judge and hope that the Judge recalls the Bench Warrant.

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When you have been issued a citation upon arrest, you are ordered to appear in Court, on or before the date stated on the citation. This is not voluntary, or optional. It is a mandatory order and one subject to consequences if you fail to appear. The consequences will differ depending on the circumstances of your case, and whether you are represented by an attorney or not.

If you are represented by an attorney, and the charge against you is a misdemeanor, then the attorney can appear on your behalf under California Penal Code §977. If you are not physically in court, and only your attorney is, then there will be no consequences. You always have the option to appear, but oftentimes most negotiations are done between the attorneys. Attorneys are also not allowed to enter a plea on your behalf so you will not be pushed into a decision that you have not discussed and confirmed with the attorney.

Let’s walk through a typical arraignment where the party is represented. This is a general arraignment, and is not always the case.

Our clients lead busy lives and with work, school, and social obligations. It is often stressful and proves to be difficult for them to clear up the day they are required to appear before the Criminal Judge. Fortunately, once they have retained an Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney, they are not required by the law to appear in Court. The attorney can appear on their behalf.

It is different for cases that are misdemeanors and for felonies. If the case is a misdemeanor an attorney is able to appear on the person’s behalf without them having to be present. If the case is a felony, the criminal system requires that the person being charged must always appear.

For example, David has been charged with domestic violence. He was stopped on a routine DUI, with nothing out of the ordinary. He did not hit a person or an object, he did not damage any personal property and it was his first DUI. Due to the facts of his case David’s case will be a misdemeanor and a San Diego DUI Attorney will be able to make the appearances on his behalf.

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.

We have discussed extensively the varying Constitutional rights afforded to each person standing a criminal trial. These rights are very important and designed to protect each individual from being wrongfully convicted, or having their rights taken away without a complete understanding of the process.

That is why in a criminal case it is extremely important to consult with and recommended to hire a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney. For a criminal defense attorney, this is their day to day experience and knowledge. They know whether waiving any rights is in your best interest, or if it will serve to hurt you later.

One of these important rights is the right to enter a plea. If you are represented by an attorney, the attorney may enter a plea on your behalf. Each plea will have its own specific procedures. In any case, no lawyer shall ever enter a plea on your behalf without having discussed in length the specific consequences, potential outcomes and charges with you in detail.