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What are the initial steps in a criminal proceeding?

If you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you have the right to representation by an attorney at every stage of the proceedings. For most criminal cases, the proceedings include the following general steps:
Upon your arrest, the police will read Miranda rights. The "Miranda" warning informs you of your rights before questioning can begin. These rights are to be taken seriously and a request for legal representation should be made immediately at the commencement of questioning, and in response to the Miranda warnings.

  1. You have the right to remain silent and to refuse to answer questions.
  2. Anything you do say may be used against you in a court of law.
  3. You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future. (It is advisable that you ask for an attorney at this stage of the questioning)
  4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.
  5. If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.

After arrest, you will be booked, which is when your name and personal information are taken. You will be fingerprinted and photographed.

The first court appearance is called the arraignment. You enter your plea (guilty, not guilty, or no contest), and receive a written accusation of the alleged crime. . If your plea is "not guilty," the court sets a date for trial. You should retain counsel or ask the judge to appoint counsel at the arraignment before you enter a plea.

If you have not been released already on bail or OR (own recognizance) the court sets your bail or has you detained until your next hearing. Bail can be as simple as giving your word to appear at your next court hearing, but can require posting thousands of dollars as a bond. If bail is set at a higher level, a bail bondsman may provide the payment for a fee and a security interest in your property. Your security may be forfeited if you do not show up for your next court date.



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The Law Offices of Kenneth L. Schreiber
Newport Gateway, Suite 1100
19800 MacArthur Boulevard
Irvine CA 92612

Phone:  949-852-0411

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Serving Southern California: Irvine criminal defense attorney Kenneth L. Schreiber represents clients throughout California's Inland Empire, including Riverside, San Bernardino, Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, San Diego, Ventura, Los Angeles, Mission Viejo, Beverly Hills, Corona Del Mar, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Huntington Beach, Orange, Villa Park, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Tustin, Lake Forest, Westminster, Anaheim, Vista, Fallbrook, Temecula, Marietta, and other communities in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County.