Cases may be transferred to other courts depending on case loads at the court or other specific circumstances requiring transfer.
What happens with my case when the suspect(s) were arrested when the crime occurred?
It depends on whether the crime is a felony or a misdemeanor.
It also depends on whether the suspect remains in custody or is released from custody prior to or at their arraignment by bail, by bond, by citation or on their own recognizance pending further investigation.
When will my case go to court if it is a felony?
The number of days will vary based on the actions of the police, defendant and the prosecutors, that is, whether the defendant is released or not released from custody and when this occurs.
If the suspect is not released prior to arraignment
The case will be referred to a Redondo Beach investigator (investigator).
The investigator will:
Review the case and determine whether additional investigation is required (interviews of suspects, witnesses, and victims; forensic analysis and review of evidence; research of information databases; determination of prior criminal history; etc.
Prepare additional follow-up reports
Prepare District Attorney forms and other requirements.
Submit the case to the District Attorney’s Office for review
(Note that this must be completed usually within 48 hours of the suspect’s arrest. If the investigator cannot obtain all necessary information and complete these requirements in the allowed time, the suspect may have to be released pending completion.)
In felony cases, when a defendant pleads not guilty at arraignment, you must set the date for the preliminary hearing, and unless both sides waive time, the preliminary hearing must be held at least two but no more than ten court days after the arraignment or the plea, whichever comes later. [PC §§738, 859b.]
The defendant must be brought to trial within 60 calendar days after the arraignment on the information, assuming probable cause is found and he or she is held to answer at the preliminary hearing. [PC §1382(a)(2).]
The District Attorney’s Office and the attorney for the defendant may choose to waive these time limits, and many cases are resolved within about one year.
If the suspect is released prior to their arraignment, they are usually scheduled to appear in court within thirty days of their arrest to be arraigned.
The time rules identified above begin with their arraignment.
When will my case go to court if it is a misdemeanor?
Not Released Before Arraignment:
If the suspect is not released prior to arraignment, they will generally appear in court to be arraigned on the next court day, usually within 24 hours of their arrest.
Most suspects of misdemeanor crimes that do not involve violence or special circumstances are released at their arraignment at the discretion of the judge.
The judge may remand the defendant to the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff pending trial.
Unless they waive time, in-custody misdemeanor defendants must be brought to trial within 30 days after their arraignment or entry of plea, whichever occurs later.
Released Before Arraignment:
If the suspect is released prior to their misdemeanor arraignment, they are usually given a citation with an instruction to appear in court to be arraigned within 30 days of their arrest.
Released after their misdemeanor arraignment
Out-of-custody misdemeanor defendants must be brought to trial within 45 days after arraignment or entry of plea, unless they waive time. [PC §1382(a)(3).]
Most misdemeanor cases involve pre-trial motions in court within 30 to 45 days of arraignment.
Misdemeanor trials may occur within six months to one year if both sides waive time.
If a trial does not occur for a misdemeanor, and the suspect pleads guilty; when will they be sentenced?
When a defendant pleads guilty or “no contest” to a misdemeanor, judgment and sentencing cannot be less than six hours, nor more than five days after the plea unless the defendant waives time. [PC §1449.]
The court generally will obtain a time waiver and impose misdemeanor sentences immediately after the defendant pleads guilty.
How do you count court days when attempting to determine the number of days until a hearing or trial?
When counting the number of days, under a given statute, by which you must calendar a subsequent hearing, assume that you are to count calendar days unless the statute expressly states “court days.” [GC §6806.]
Exclude the first day and include the last day. But if the last day is a holiday, then exclude it. [CC §10.]
Court Information – Felony cases that arise in Redondo Beach are generally filed/handled by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Torrance Branch (http://da.co.la.ca.us/torrance.htm). Arraignments are heard at the Los Angeles County Superior Court (http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/), generally at the South West (Torrance) division.
Testifying in Court
What should I do if I am asked to testify in court?
Always tell the truth.
Listen carefully and answer only the question asked
Answer “yes” or “no” if the question calls for it, and do not volunteer additional information.
Ask the attorney to repeat the question if it is confusing or you do not understand the question;
Do not guess if you do not know the answer.
Be patient and courteous when answering attorneys’ questions – both attorneys are allowed to question witnesses.
Ask to review your prior statements related to the case – such as statements to police – before taking the stand; be prepared to answer questions about them.
If your memory of the facts is different from the statements in the report, talk with the prosecutor before the court proceeding to tell them.
Wait until the judge tells you to answer the question when an attorney objects to a question.