Wildflowers bloom in the Sierra Nevada
Wildflowers bloom in the Sierra Nevada

I was told I have to be arraigned. What does that mean?
An arraignment is your initial appearance before the judge. You will receive a copy of the criminal complaint which will indicate the charges made against you, you will be advised of your constitutional rights and the Court will ascertain if your name is correctly spelled on the criminal complaint. If the charges are "misdemeanors", you have a right to plead "guilty", "no contest" or "not guilty". If you plead "guilty" or "no contest" to the misdemeanor charges (except if the charge is either DUI or Domestic Battery) you will NOT be sentenced during the arraignment. Because the penalties are more severe if the charge is either a DUI or Domestic Battery a Deputy District Attorney must also be present and an alcohol evaluation may be required before sentencing. For these reasons, sentencing may be continued to another date. If you plead "not guilty" a pre-trial date is set within THIRTY (30) days of the arraignment date.

If the charge is a felony or gross misdemeanor, you cannot plead "guilty" at arraignment, instead a mandatory status conference (MSC) will be set within SEVEN (7) days thereafter.