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A Step By Step Breakdown Of The Criminal Process Following An Arrest

Interviewer: What is going to happen following an arrest? I understand there is going to be some jail time, but after that what’s the process going to look like, what are the hearings that I am going to have to attend?

Matthew Murillo:  That’s going to somewhat depend on what kind of case you have.  If you have a misdemeanor, as in most scenarios, you would not be required to appear in court. Your attorney can appear for you. If you have a felony, you will be required to appear at every single hearing.  As for the process itself, you’re going to have the initial hearing in court, which is going to be an arraignment. Essentially, in most counties, nothing happens at the arraignment, except that you’re told what your charges are.  Negotiations with the DA don’t actually start until after that. Investigation sometimes won’t start until after that point. It’s a process. After the arraignment you’ll have a few hearings which are generally known as pretrial hearings.

The Pretrial Stage Can Last from 3 to 5 Hearings or More Depending Upon the Negotiations with the DA

Going into the Pre-Trial stage doesn’t necessarily mean that your case is going to trial. It’s just a name given to that middle stage of the case.The stage itself can be anywhere from 3 to 5 hearings, even more depending on how long it takes to negotiate with the DA, finish up the investigation, run any pretrial motions (like a motion to suppress evidence, or a motion to dismiss the case) as well as a variety of other factors that will play into how long that stage takes. Once you get to the end of that, you’re basically at the point where you either accept the plea agreement, the case was dismissed, or you have to set the case for trial.

The Length of a Criminal Trial Depends Upon the Facts Associated with the Case

You get to Trial when you have exhausted negotiations, we received all the evidence the DA may have against you, what evidence is in your favor, what’s not, then you make the decision of whether you want to go to trial.  If you choose to, then you go to trail, and you would have to present in most scenarios, for the trial, and the length of a trial is going to depend on the type of case. Some of them may take a couple of hours; some of them may take a couple of months.

The Process of Expungement for Criminal Offenses in the State of California

Interviewer: Is there any way someone would get something taken off their record, removed from the record, or expunged?

Matthew Murillo: Yes, there are a couple of options depending on what happens.  If you are arrested, and no conviction ever happened, meaning the DA didn’t file any charges, then you can file, what’s called a “petition to seal and destroy the record of arrest”. There is a time limit that you only have 2 years from the date of arrest to file that, and there are certain procedures that are followed for that as well. So being on top of that is extremely important.  The other option, if you are convicted of either a misdemeanor or a felony, is what’s commonly referred to as an expungement, however, California doesn’t have a true expungement statute.

Any Cases or Convictions Dismissed as a Result of Filing Expungement Never Truly Come Off Your Record

Any cases or convictions that are dismissed as a result of filing for the expungement never truly come off of your record.What happens is, a note is added to your criminal record.  Essentially, that says the case was dismissed pursuant to penal code section 1203.4.  While that does have the effect of being able to say, on the employment application, that you were never convicted for that offense. It still does remain on there, and an employer if this case has been dismissed, can’t use that against you, but they do see it. For felony cases, it’s sometimes a good idea to have them reduce the felony offense to a misdemeanor first, if it’s an eligible offense, before you actually file for the dismissal.

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