Going to Trial in California

When a judge fails to resolve a criminal case during the arraignment or pre-trial proceedings, it usually proceeds to a court trial. Going to trial can be overwhelming, if not traumatic and stressful. But you don’t have to go through it alone. Our Gold River criminal defense attorneys have experience dealing with criminal cases, and we are here to protect your rights and defend your freedom.

Going to trial is never easy. If you’re charged with a crime such as assault, domestic violence, or fraud, you need a good defense attorney by your side. Contact the Chastaine Jones at 916-932-7150 to connect with our Gold River criminal defense attorneys today.

Facing Criminal Charges?

Our Sacramento County criminal defense attorneys are near you in Gold River, CA. We are ready to fight for you. Contact Chastaine Jones to schedule a consultation and begin your defense today.

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The Criminal Court Process in Gold River, CA

If you or your loved one is facing criminal charges, knowing what usually happens in a California criminal court before going to trial is important. This page provides an overview of what usually happens in California’s criminal court process, specifically during a court or jury trial.

Before a criminal case goes to trial, it goes through different stages first.


The police arrest someone if they witnessed a crime or have a warrant of arrest issued by the court. The person charged with a crime is called the defendant, and the attorney representing the state, county, or local government accusing the defendant of a crime is the prosecutor. When the police arrest an individual, they must be presented before a judge for an initial appearance within 24 hours. Otherwise, the individual should be released.

Initial Appearance

After the police arrest you for a crime in California, your first formal court appearance occurs during your arraignment. In an arraignment, the judge informs you of your charges. If you cannot hire a private attorney, the court assigns a public attorney to represent you.

It is important to have a skilled Gold River defense attorney by your side when going to trial. Call us at 916-932-7150 to begin your best defense today.

During the arraignment process, you can also enter a plea for your case. The most common pleas in court include:

  • A not guilty plea
  • A guilty plea, or
  • No contest

If you enter a “guilty” or “no contest” plea, your case directly proceeds to a sentencing hearing. A “not guilty” plea, which is the most common plea, addresses the issue of bail.

Our Gold River criminal defense lawyers at Chastaine Jones can help you understand the legal process of posting bail and the California state laws pertaining to it. Contact us today at 916-932-7150, so we can help you process your bail.

Preliminary Hearing

During a preliminary hearing, the judge looks at the evidence and hears testimonies from witnesses presented by the prosecution and the defendant’s lawyer. A preliminary hearing primarily takes place to ensure that you’re not being held liable for a crime without enough evidence against you.

To determine whether you’re liable for a crime or not, the judge answers these questions:

  • Is there probable cause to believe that you committed a crime?
  • If so, is there probable cause to believe that you’re the person who committed those crimes?

If the answer to these questions is “yes,” the judge then engages you to further pretrial proceedings to resolve the case, usually in the form of a plea bargain. However, if you stand by your “not guilty” plea, you will then proceed to a fair court trial, which is your constitutional right.

The preliminary hearing is a crucial part of your case before going to trial. If you’ve been arrested for a crime, Our skilled Gold River CA, defense attorneys can help you prepare for the pretrial hearing and even potentially prevent the case from moving forward. Call our law firm at 916-932-7150 for a case evaluation!

The Jury Trial in California

California’s jury trial consists of twelve members who represent the community where the defendant allegedly committed the crime. Before a jury can convict anyone, they must agree in a unanimous decision that someone is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

A jury trial in California can be dissected into phases, and each stage has its own regulations and rules to follow.

The Jury Selection

Before going to trial, a jury will be selected for the case. The defense attorney and the prosecutor ask each prospective jury member questions to determine whether they will make a favorable jury for the case.

During the selection process, twelve jurors are selected. However, jurors are often dismissed from the jury if they show bias or are not suitable to determine the case.

Both attorneys are allowed six to twenty peremptory challenges to dismiss a juror depending on the offense. However, a lawyer may not dismiss a prospective juror based on their religion, ethnicity, race, etc. Once the twelve jurors are complete, the lawyers will make their opening statements.

Before going to trial, make sure that you have an experienced Gold River criminal defense lawyer by your side. Call us at 916-932-7150 to begin your best defense today.

Opening Statements

Opening statements allow the jurors to see an overview of what the lawyers plan to prove with their evidence. During an opening statement, lawyers are not allowed to present evidence. However, they are permitted to provide somehow a preview of what they are to present later in the trial.

Depending on the offense and its circumstances, opening statements can be short or detailed. A judge may also set a time limit on an opening statement.