Frequently Asked Questions - Expand All Hide All
What is an arraignment?
An arraignment is a court hearing in which the defendant is formally charged with an offense. The defendant enters a plea of guilty or not guilty at this hearing and is then set for trial.
How can the defendant plead "not guilty: when he/she confessed to the crime?
Even though the defendant has given a signed confession, he/she has the constitutional right to a trial. Often defendants are advised to plead "not guilty" at arraignment so their attorney has the opportunity to file motions in order to receive information about the crime.
If I get a subpoena, do I have to go to court?
Yes. You must go to court. If you fail to do so without calling the district attorney's office, the judge may impose a fine or jail sentence.
Who decides what charges to file, and how do they make that decision?
An assistant district attorney reviews cases brought to the District Attorney's Office by law enforcement agencies. The attorney reviews the reports in light of current law and evidence available to decided the appropriate filing decisions.