Before you leave court after any court date, (arraignment, pre-trial conference, trial, or other date) make sure you understand what happens next. Do you need to come back for another court proceeding? Do you need to prepare anything in writing for the next court appearance? Do you need to take other steps or actions? Will the judge make an order as a result of the hearing? Sometimes orders are written up right away - as you wait. Or, the judge may write an order later and send it in the mail. Politely ask questions if you do not understand what will happen next.
Specifically, 1) know how to contact your lawyer; 2) make sure you know when to come back; and 3) make sure you know about any conditions of release (the probation department can help you understand the conditions).
Part 2: Arraignment or First Appearance in Court
- Can court staff help me?
- What should I wear to court?
- Where should I go when I arrive at the court building?
- What should I do when I enter the arraignment courtroom?
- What conduct is expected in the courtroom?
- Who are the people in the courtroom?
- What will happen at my arraignment?
- What is bail (or bond)?
- When can I first talk to my court appointed lawyer?
- Can I dispose of my case at arraignment?
- What happens when I talk to the prosecutor (during a break in my court appearance) about resolving my case?
- Can my case be continued?
- What could my punishment be?
- What happens if I am charged with a crime but I am not a United States citizen?
- What is the difference between civil infractions, misdemeanors and felonies?
- What happens if my case is not resolved at arraignment?
- What should I do before I leave court?
- Part 3: Pre-Trial, Trial and Verdict