Articles Posted in Pre-Trial Conference

It was previously discussed that Donna is facing petty theft charges in criminal court. In Part 1, she had asked for a continuance from the Judge based on the fact that she wanted an attorney to represent her.

The right to an attorney is a Constitutional right and one that the Court takes very seriously. The Judge would not have denied Donna her request for a continuance should she want to hire an attorney. This hearing is called the Arraignment. At this appearance, Donna got a plea bargain offer from the Prosecutor. She did not enter a plea because she asked to have an attorney and was given a new date within thirty days.

Donna speaks to several different attorneys. One of the attorneys she speaks to is charged her a very minimal amount and another is charging a substantial amount. In addition, Donna considers seeking the help of a public defender because the public defender would be the most cost efficient and they are in court everyday and know the Judge. However, what Donna does not know is that while the Public Defender is a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, he will not have time to speak to Donna one on one about the issues and concerns about her case. She will get approximately five to ten minutes to speak to him in Court on the day of her continued hearing.

California has it all, good weather, great mountains, and lots of things to see and do. It is a popular tourist destination. But what happens when you are visiting the Golden State and are charged and convicted with a criminal offense? What happens if you are sentenced to minimal jail time in California, or are ordered to complete rehabilitation classes in California? It hardly makes sense that you move to California for that time period or commute to weekly classes.

It is important to understand that this is something that happens quite often, but it is not a hopeless situation. You are given the same rights to argue and defend yourself against a criminal charge whether you live in the state or not. You are not forced to immediately plead guilty without a chance to be heard so that your case is completed sooner rather than later.

A Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney has the authority to appear without you in Court on your behalf. The attorney is authorized to negotiate, enter a plea and request additional continuances or hearings on your behalf.

If you are appearing in Court for a Pre-Trial, that means that you have already appeared before the Judge once before and pled not guilty. After an arrest has been made, the very first hearing that a person will appear in Court is called the Arraignment.

Several things will happen at the arraignment. The Judge will read the person being charged their rights and will explain to them what the charges are against them and what the full statutory sentence is. One of the important rights the Judge will explain to the person is that they have the right to an attorney. If they do choose to hire an attorney, the arraignment will be continued out thirty days and the person will be asked to appear before the Judge again, this time with an attorney present .

At the arraignment the Prosecutor will offer the person being charged a plea bargain. A plea bargain gives the person a lesser charge, or lesser sentence, in exchange for a guilty plea on that day. The offer is generally a standard offer with no room for negotiation and only stands while the case is at the arraignment stage. The problem with the offer for those that are unrepresented by a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney is that they are not aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their case, and if they will be able to get a better offer than the one they are being offered.

When you have been arrested for the suspicion of having committed a criminal offense, you will be given a court date on which you must appear before a Judge. This first court appearance is called the Arraignment. The arraignment is when the court will read you your rights, and the charges against you. The prosecutor will also give you an offer. You will then be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

Many people are overwhelmed by the whole process and want it to be over as soon as possible. Therefore, they take the offer the prosecutor gives them that first day in court and finish their case. Although, it is a nerve wrecking experience, it is a bad idea to take the first plea that is offered without knowing your rights. There may be defenses available to you, and some weaknesses in your case that could leave a lesser charge or even a dismissal.

Without an attorney, you would not be aware of what the right offer is and what you should accept before entering a guilty plea. You may even be entering a premature plea when you could have gotten a better deal with some negotiation and bargaining.

Once you have entered a plea of not guilty at the arraignment of your criminal case, the next appearance will be a Pre- Trial Conference.

The Judge will schedule a Pre-Trial Conference with Prosecution so that both sides will try to come to a settlement regarding the allegations. If your case is a misdemeanor, your attorney may make an appearance on your behalf. Although you are permitted to represent yourself, it is not recommended.

Prosecutors deal with cases like yours every single day and are highly experienced in preparing an argument that will work against you. They have reviewed all the information and your background and know precisely how to approach your case. An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney can not only prepare a powerful defense that will serve to change the prosecution’s perception of your case, but they have worked with the prosecutors in Los Angeles on thousands of cases and know the weaknesses and strengths of each.