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What to Expect at Arraignment


My clients facing criminal charges often ask what to expect at an arraignment hearing and initial appearance. This is what you can usually expect to have addressed at an arraignment:

1. Identification of counsel (the Court wants to know who is going to represent you in the case). If you do not want to use the public defender and have not already hired a criminal attorney by the arraignment the court will often give you a week or two continuance of the arraignment to retain an attorney.

2. Advisement of the charges and rights as a criminal defendant. These advisements are usually waived by counsel if they have received a copy of the criminal complaint as the charges are outlined in that documents.

3. Entry of Plea: Your attorney will generally be asked to enter a plea on your behalf. The plea will almost always be not guilty and a denial of all allegations. This gives you and your attorney time to discuss the charges and review the police reports and other facts as well as time to negotiate with the District Attorney if appropriate.

4. Bail: Often times for misdemeanor offenses the court will release a person OR without requiring bail. In cases of Domestic Violence this is often on condition of a stay away order issued to stay away from the victim. If your case is one where bail is going to be needed your attorney can advocate for low bail on your behalf.

5. Setting of Next Court Date: Finally, the court will set a new hearing date which is usually known as a pretrial conference or pretrial hearing where settlement discussions are had in an attempt to reach a resolution.

Please contact the Law Office of Kevin S. Sullivan to discuss your criminal case. The Law Office of Kevin S. Sullivan represents clients in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara (San Jose), Alameda (Oakland) and Contra Costa (Martinez and Richmond)Counties