Misdemeanor Court Process

If you have been arrested for, or  charged with, a misdemeanor, you probably have many questions swirling through your mind.  Our hope at Martell Law Corp. is that this page will help to guide you through the misdemeanor court process, and answer questions you may have about the general process.  Misdemeanor charges can be very complex.  For this reason, you should not attempt to represent yourself if you have been charged with a crime.  You should consult with an experienced San Bernardino County criminal defense attorney to discuss the options and defenses available to you in your case.  


What is a Misdemeanor?

In California, a misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by up to a year in county jail and typically will carry fines of up to $1,000.  There are even several misdemeanor charges that have minimum sentencing requirements and mandatory jail time associated with them.  Misdemeanor defendants are guaranteed certain rights because of the seriousness of the charges that they face.  A local criminal defense attorney will be able  to explain your rights to you and discuss possible defenses that you may have to the crime you are being charged with.  Our Hesperia criminal defense attorney is prepared to discuss your case with you today.


Steps in a Misdemeanor Case

Defense of a misdemeanor case can take from several months up to over a year, depending on the complexity of the charges.  The process can be broken down into several steps.  The first step is called the arraignment.  At the arraignment, the defendant must enter a plea of "guilty" or "not guilty" to the charges and the Court will determine whether bail will be set in your case.  At this point, the Court does not consider whether the charges against you are true or not.  If you plead "not guilty" to the charges, the Court will set a Pre-Trial Conference date, so that your attorney and the prosecutor can discuss the case, making efforts at negotiating a settlement.


The next step in the process is called the pre-trial stage.  At this stage, the prosecutor and your attorney will discuss your case to determine whether a settlement can be reached.  This time is also used by a criminal defense attorney to investigate the facts of the case to determine whether there are any defenses that can be used at the trial stage, or for the purposes of negotiations.  If the case cannot be settled at this stage, then the case will go to trial.


The final step in the process is jury trial.  Most misdemeanor cases do not go to jury trial, and are resolved prior to trial, however, every defendant still has a right to a jury trial, if they so choose.  The case can still be settled up until the trial begins, however, if it is not settled, then both sides will announce ready for trial, and your trial will typically begin within 10 days of the first date set for trial.  


Victorville Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been arrested for or charged with a misdemeanor it is essential that you contact an attorney who has experience in handling misdemeanor cases.  Our criminal defense attorney in victorville has represented clients in most misdemeanor charges and is prepared to assist you in your case.  Martell Law Corp. is currently assisting clients in Hesperia, Victorville, Apple Valley, Barstow, Adelanto, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, and Lancaster.  Contact us today at 760-948-0630 to discuss your case or schedule a consultation.