The defendant’s first appearance in court will normally be the arraignment. An arraignment shall be conducted within 48 hours of arrest if the defendant is still in jail. If the defendant has been released on his own recognizance or has posted a bond or cash bail, the arraignment will occur within a short time period after the defendant’s release from jail.
At the arraignment, the defendant is informed of the charges against him and he/she is asked to enter a plea. The plea may be one of not guilty, guilty, or no contest. If the defendant enters a plea of guilty or no contest (nolo contendere), the judge may, in most circumstances, impose a sentence immediately. If the defendant enters a plea of not guilty, the matter is set for trial. Prior to entering a plea, the defendant is also informed of his constitutional rights, involving the following:
I understand that I have the following constitutional rights at the time of my arraignment in Pittsburg Municipal Court:
- I may plead Guilty, Nolo Contendere, or Not Guilty to the offense(s) with which I am charged. If I plead Guilty or Nolo Contendere, I give up the right listed below. If I plead Not Guilty I will be given a court date for trial.
- At trial I have the right to make the City (prosecutor) prove the charge(s) against me beyond a reasonable doubt.
- To do this, the City is required to call witnesses. I have the right to confront and cross-examine those witnesses.
- I also have the right to use the subpoena power of this Court to bring in witnesses to testify in my own behalf.
- I have the right to remain silent at trial and not incriminate myself. I do not have to make any statement, nor do I have to testify.
- I have the right to appeal any judgment of the Pittsburg Municipal Court. I understand that I must file the appeal within ten days of judgment and post bond 2 times the amount of the fine and court cost.