Arraignment Process in Los Angeles
An arraignment is a hearing in open court where a judge formally reads the charge or charges to a defendant and asks the defendant how they plead.
While the precise timing of arraignment varies, it usually needs to occur within a reasonable time of the defendant being arrested and charged. Arraigning the defendant at an early stage ensures their case is progressing and they're not spending more time in custody than necessary. However, it is common in DUI cases for the arraignment to not take place for several months after the arrest date if the person arrested is not in jail custody. Delays in filing may occur for any number of reasons. For example, the arrestee may have submitted to a blood test to determine their blood alcohol level. However, there may be delays with the lab reporting the test results to the law enforcement agency.
In addition to reading the charges and taking the defendant's plea, a court may also read out the substance of the charges, confirm that the defendant understands them, and inform the defendant of his or her relevant constitutional rights.
The judge may also decide bail and list the later court hearings for the matter, including a bail review hearing, pretrial hearing, and jury trial.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for driving under the influence, contact our DUI lawyer at Berglund Law Office, P.C. Fill out our CONTACT form or call us at (877) 667-1205 to schedule a free consultation to learn more.
Understanding Pleas at DUI Arraignments in California
When a judge asks a defendant how they plead to a charge during an arraignment hearing, a defendant can enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
A not guilty plea indicates the defendant is contesting the allegations and the matter will proceed to a pre-trial hearing and possible a jury trial at a later date.
A guilty plea indicates the defendant accepts the charges and allegations. By entering a guilty plea, the matter will proceed to sentence either immediately at the arraignment hearing or at a later date.
A no contest plea indicates the defendant is accepting a conviction for the charge but not admitting guilt. Like a guilty plea, the matter will proceed to sentencing immediately at the arraignment hearing or at a later date.
Do You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer for a DUI Arraignment in Los Angeles?
The short answer is YES, you should have an attorney. It's best to speak to an attorney before your arraignment so you can obtain advice relevant to your case and the options available to you. Engaging an attorney at this early stage also allows them to start preparing for your case before the first court date (e.g. the arraignment). If you have been arrested for DUI, call our office at (877) 667-1205 or submit out CONTACT form to speak with a Los Angeles DUI lawyer about your case.