Representation by an experienced attorney at a domestic violence arraignment helps lay a foundation for a strong defense. An arraignment is a court appearance that takes place early in a criminal case. The judge informs the defendant of the charges filed against them and provides the opportunity to enter a plea, for example, “not guilty.” The court typically determines other issues as well, including bail and dates for future hearings. Riverside domestic violence attorney Gregory H. Comings advocates for people facing misdemeanor and felony offenses, including stalking, child abuse, as well as weapons offenses and other crimes.
After an arrest for domestic violence, the accused may be booked into jail and required to post bail in order to be released. In some situations, individuals cannot post bail or are required to remain in custody. Upon release, the accused will be provided a date for arraignment. If the person remains in custody, the prosecutor must file charges within 48 hours, not including holidays and weekends. The individual must be released if no charges are filed.
At an arraignment, the prosecution provides the defense a copy of the complaint detailing the offense, and any incident reports. The defendant will be expected to enter a plea. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the court determines whether to set bail or release the defendant on their own recognizance.
Often, the court will issue a protective order preventing the defendant from engaging in threats, violence or stalking against the alleged victim. A stay away order is a type of protective order that remains valid while the court presides over the criminal case. According to these protective orders, the defendant will be prohibited from contacting the alleged victim. Typically, the defendant will also be required to relinquish firearms in their possession while the order is in effect.
During an arraignment, the court schedules a pretrial conference for misdemeanor domestic violence offenses, and preliminary hearings for felonies. At a pretrial conference, the prosecution may present an offer to resolve the case. The defendant has the right to discuss the terms with their attorney and another court date may be set in order to provide time to consider the offer. Penalties for a misdemeanor domestic violence crime can include jail time of between 6 months to one year. However, probation is often granted in misdemeanor cases.
A preliminary hearing determines whether the evidence supports holding the defendant to answer for the criminal charges. The prosecution must set forth evidence of probable cause. In other words, there must be a showing that the criminal charges are true, and that the defendant is the individual who committed the offense.
If a judge determines sufficient evidence indicates a crime was committed and that the defendant may have committed the offense, they will be held to answer the charges. Another court date will be set, a new document called an information filed, and the defendant will be arraigned on the information.
The second arraignment in this case will set future court appearances. Both sides revisit the possibility of settling the case, adjusting terms if necessary. Punishment for felony domestic violence crimes includes imprisonment and probation, as well as the loss of the right to carry a firearm.
During an arraignment, defendants maintain constitutional rights. These include the right to representation, the right to a speedy trial, and the right against self-incrimination, among others. An experienced attorney can help to ensure your rights are protected throughout all stages of your case.
Riverside lawyer Gregory H. Comings makes it a priority to remain accessible to clients throughout all stages of their case. He is prepared to help you understand the consequences of your charges and your legal rights. The Law Office of Gregory H.Comings assists clients throughout Moreno Valley, Indio, Palm Desert, Temecula, Palm Springs, Highland, Redlands, Indio, Rancho Cucamonga, and Victorville. To learn more, contact our office by phone at (951) 686-3457 or online.