Posted on December 30, 2015
First Appearance in Superior Court for Misdemeanor Charges
Just because you’ve been arrested for a crime does not mean charges will be filed against you in court. After your arrest, law enforcement submits the evidence to the prosecuting agency for review to determine whether formal charges should be brought against you. If the filing prosecutor elects to “reject” the case for insufficient evidence, the court will be unaware of your case. However, if the filing prosecutor elects to file charges against you, a “complaint” will be filed with the court, and your first court date will be set.
The first court appearance on any criminal charge is called the “arraignment.” At this time, you will learn what you’ve been formally charged with and the judge will ask whether you plead “guilty” or “not guilty” to the charge(s) against you.
After entering a “not guilty” plea, you will then have the right to a jury trial within 30 days of your plea (if you are in custody) or 45 days if you’re out of custody. If you do not wish to have a jury trial within that period, you must “waive time”. In other words, you’re not waiving your trial right, but you’re merely waiving your trial right within that period. If you “waive time” then the judge will set the case into “pretrial”. Because a typical case often involves investigation, witness questioning, and defense preparation, waiving your statutory trial right is often advised. It’s further advised to retain a lawyer to represent you in any criminal matter. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, the judge will appoint one to represent you.
For more information, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers.