So you either just got cited with a ticket that states you need to appear in court for a violation of either a vehicle code or penal code offense, or you got arrested, or at worst you were told you are being charged with a felony. You are told you need to come to court and make an appearance. What should you do?
The first court appearance for charges involving a crime is called an arraignment. It really is the first court appearance whereby the person accused of a crime is brought before a judge, is informed of the criminal charges he or she faces, and asked by the judge whether he or she wants to plead guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere (no contest) to the charges.
The arraignment is not for the person to tell his or her story to a judge about what did or did not happen when that person received that ticket, citation, notice to come to court, or was arrested. The arraignment is not the time for that person to provide excuses- justified or otherwise- as to why he or she should not be in court. Any judge in a criminal court case is not interested in hearing such things from a person who is accused of a crime. The judge wants to know whether a person wants to plead not guilty or guilty.
At an arraignment, if you go without a lawyer, a judge is required to inform you of your right to be represented by an attorney, or if you are poor or have very low income means, you should be told of your right to be have attorney appointed for you- in other words, a public defender.
Some people who have been charged with a crime believe that going to the court and pleading guilty is the best thing to do. Beware of going to court by yourself. Typically you will receive the harshest sentence possible or recommended by the prosecutor assigned to your case. The prosecutor represents the People and is not interested in making friends with those accused of crimes.
It is best to get legal consultation before going to court when you are facing criminal charges. The penalties for pleading guilty may have a great impact on your record, employment, and your liberty. After consultation, you should make a decision to have an experienced criminal defense attorney represent you at all stages of any criminal proceeding. Contact the Gonzalez Law Firm for that consultation and representation. David Gonzalez has many years of experience helping persons charged with infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies. Facing criminal charges can cause much stress upon you and the ones you love. Contact Criminal Defense Attorney David Gonzalez. His offices are located in Santa Ana and Fullerton. He gets results. 1-877-345-2997.