Posted on March 11, 2017

First Court Appearance in Orange County Criminal Court

The first appearance in criminal court is the arraignment.  Ordinarily, no evidence is presented and no witness testify.  This hearing is designed to formally inform the defendant of the charges alleged against them and how the defendant pleads to the charge(s) – guilty or not guilty.  Additionally, if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney, the court will appoint the services of the public defender.

Depending on the severity of the offense, the court may impose bail.  If that occurs, a defendant may be remanded into custody.  However, a lawyer may be able to convince the court to have the defendant remain free on their own recognizance.

The defendant usually obtains a copy of the initial case discovery consisting of the arrest reports.  Any further information or discovery must first be informally requested from the District Attorney.

In a misdemeanor case, a defendant in custody has a right to a jury trial within 30 calendar days from their arraignment whereas a defendant out of custody has the right to a jury trial within 45 days.  In all felony cases, a defendant has the right to a preliminary hearing within 10 court days.  In most instances, a defendant agrees to waive statutory time (also known as “waive time”).  Usually, it is advised that a criminal defendant waive statutory time unless there’s a tactical reason not to.

For more information or to schedule a free confidential consultation, contact an Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers.

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