After you have been arrested and either released with out bail (ROR) or after you have posted the bail set by the judge at your arraignment you will be given a date to appear in court.
The next court date is usually after 20 to 45 days of your arrest. You may hire an attorney during this period between your arrest and your appearance in court. If you hire an attorney to represent you he or she will appear in court with you on the next court date.
During the time period after your arrest, your case will be investigated by the County District Attorney’s office. The County District Attorney will prepare all the discovery, and begin to turn the discovery over to you and your attorney at the court dates set for your appearances.
The court will set a motion schedule and your attorney will prepare, file with the court and serve on the District Attorney pre-trial motions to suppress evidence against you by arguing constitutional violations to protect your rights under the law. If granted by the judge you may wish to proceed to a pre-trial hearing. The case will be sent to a judge to conduct the hearing. At the hearing the police officer(s) witnesses will be called to testify.
You must now decide if you want to have a bench trial or a Jury trial. In a bench trial, the judge in court hears your case and delivers a verdict. In a Jury trial, a group of your peers decides the verdict. The Jury is composed of 6 people in a misdemeanor case and 12 people in a felony case.
The court will render a sentence if a conviction has been made. The conviction can be made either when the defendant enters a plea under a plea bargain or when the court delivers the verdict. If you are proven guilty you will be given penalties depending upon the severity of your crime. The penalties you may receive have been discussed in detail in the next question.