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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Question What Exactly Happens At An Arraignment

    At the first court date, what happens exactly? You walk in to the department and.... ? Who do you speak with first? A clerk? The public defender? Do you get to speak with your public defender before talking to the judge?

    I know I'm guilty, but I would like to see if my charge can be lessened (from my 488 to a 490.1) since this is my first and only blemish.

    Also, is there a protocol in terms of how things are supposed to be handled? I never received a copy of my citation. I just received a photocopy of the citation with my court date and there is no officer signature on the citation (only the LP's sig). Shouldn't there be a 2nd signature for this citation to be officially 'valid' ? There were no officiers on the scene, only the LP. But all of this was obviously sent to the P.D., but no officer signature.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: What Exactly Happens At An Arraignment

    There are any number of things that happen at plea and arraignment depending on the court. Normally you will be asked to enter a plea--guilty, not guilty or nolo contendere. If you plead not guilty then normally a trial date would be set at that time. If you plead guilty or nolo the court may proceed to sentence at that time or may set a sentencing date. If you think you qualify for a Public Defender and want to go that route you might check with the court clerk before your court date and see about making contact with the Public Defender's Office--you may not be entitled to the appointment of counsel depending on the charge and possible disposition. They may talk to you ahead of time or may talk to you the day of court--just depends. If you are thinking about hiring an attorney it is best to go ahead and do that--some judges do not like it if a person shows up for court and advises the court they want to be represented by an attorney but have not taken steps to retain one. Regardless, the decision of whether you will be represented by counsel, etc., is taken up at this time. You may be appointed a Public Defender or may be told to report back with counsel if you advise the Court you are seeking to retain an attorney. You are normally advised of the charge as well--that is what you enter a plea to. If you decide to plead guilty without an attorney you may have to sign a waiver of counsel.

    Technical attacks on citations are disfavored so I doubt you'll get anywhere with the argument that the citation is fatally defective--the purpose of a charging instrument is to give you fair warning of what it is that you are charged with doing. Also, if you were to get a charging instrument thrown out prior to jeopardy attaching a new charging instrument could be issued.

    These are the things that generally you can expect.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: What Exactly Happens At An Arraignment

    thank you Litigator. I called the courthouse after posting this message because I am just a wreck in my anticipation. I'm ready to plead guilty and just put this behind me.

    I will need a public defender but I can't be issued one (or talk to one) until the court/judge issues it.

    With a few more days to go....

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