Three things usually occur during formal arraignments in California. First, the accused persons will have charges against them read to them. The accused person will then enter a plea, and finally, the future court dates are set.
During a felony arraignment, the attorney will show up to court with the accused person, where they will receive a copy of the complaint. This document is a written pleading outlining the charges against the accused. At this time, a not guilty plea is entered on behalf of the accused and a court date is set for a future hearing. In some counties, the next court date is either a felony settlement conference or a preliminary hearing. Thereafter, a preliminary hearing is held and if the accused does not waive time the
Formal arraignments for misdemeanor charges may be attended by the attorney without the client being present pursuant to penal code section 977. Oftentimes, people ask if they should appear at the formal arraignment on misdemeanor matters and whether or not if their appearance is would affect the judge and, ultimately, the outcome of the case.
The answers to these questions are not so simple. Nowadays, the court system is so overwhelmed and impacted so much that a person doesn’t need to appear in court. The arraignments can easily be handled by the lawyer who will also enter the plea, pick up the discovery, and move on to the pre-trial stage of the litigation.
It should also be noted that there’s no chance to discuss the case with the DA during the arraignment stage. Discussions with the DA can begin at the pre-trial conference stage, which is the next part of the proceedings.