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I have a notice for an arraignment in Orange County Criminal Court- What does that mean?

If you have been arrested for a criminal charge in Orange County, your first appearance in court is called an “arraignment.” At an arraignment, a judge or magistrate informs a defendant what charges are being brought against him and what constitutional rights a defendant has- such as a right to counsel and the right to a jury trial. In misdemeanors where the prosecution is seeking jail time or in felonies, if a defendant cannot afford and attorney, a public defender will be appointed. Usually, a defendant has to complete an affidavit of indingency in order for a public defender to be appointed.

Defendants also enter a plea at the arraignment. A defendant has three plea options: a Not Guilty Plea, a Guilty Plea and a plea of no contest–sometimes called a “nolo” or “nolo contendre” plea. A Nolo plea has the same effect as a guilty plea except the conviction cannot be used against the defendant in a civil suit.


If you have been charged in an Orange County Criminal Case or for an Orange County DUI, don’t face the Court alone. Please call Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney William Weinberg at (714) 834-1400 for a consultation.