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.
At the arraignment, the attorney will be given any discovery available on your case. Discovery is the police report, or the arrest report that was drafted by the officers at the scene or thereafter. This will be a crucial piece to your case. Generally the discovery is not often available. However, many of the experienced Los Angeles Lawyers know the prosecutors and are able to get the discovery early. This allows for the negotiations and defense planning on your case to occur earlier on.
The attorney will also be given a plea bargain by the prosecutor. A plea bargain is an offer in exchange that the person being charged plead guilty and not proceed to trial. After speaking to a prosecutor, the Judge will ask the attorney to enter a plea on behalf of the client. In order to enter a guilty plea, the client must have filled out what is referred to as a Tahl Waiver, or be present in Court.
A good experienced attorney will never enter a plea or accept a plea bargain on behalf of a client without having extensively discussed it with the client. What happens most often is that the attorney will talk to the prosecutor, negotiate terms and conditions and then ask the Judge for a brief continuance on the Arraignment so that they may discuss it with their client. The attorney will then take the time to discuss the offer with you, the consequences, their personal opinion and experience on the facts of the case and the strength and weaknesses if you were to proceed to trial. Sometimes, the attorney may advise that you enter a plea of not guilty, and negotiate with the next prosecutor at the Pre Trial stage of the proceedings.
Regardless of how you choose to proceed one thing is for certain; you will benefit greatly from the guidance and expertise of a Criminal Defense Lawyer in your corner, otherwise Court can be a very stressful place and you can end up making a bad decision if you enter a plea of guilty without knowing the facts.