criminal court records
Misdemeanor Cases and Arraignments
Criminal charges in a cases involving state law are of two types - misdemeanors and felonies (very minor offenses, such as motor vehicle violations, are called infractions).
Misdemeanor cases involve less serious crimes for which the punishment is a fine, probation or a sentence of up to a year a county jail, rather than in state prison.
After a person has been charged with a misdemeanor he or she will be arraigned before a superior court judge.
At the arraignment the judge will read the charges to the defendant, who will be apprised of his/her rights, such as to legal counsel, and be asked to enter a plea. A judge may also hear a request from the defendant for a reduction in the amount of bail on which he or she is being held.
In California, after a person is arraigned on a misdemeanor charge, the person must be brought to trial within 30 days if the person is in custody or within 45 days if the person is not (although it is common for the defendant's attorney to request or agree to delays).
The court record in misdemeanor cases thus will include the filing of the original charge against a defendant by the district attorney's office, a record of what occurred at the arraignment, and after that various motions filed in the case by the defense attorney and prosecutor.
(infractions, such as traffic violations, usually involve just paying a fine.)