The Law Office of Joe VanDervoort and Geoff Dulebohn


An arraignment is the first court appearance when a person is charged with a crime. A judge advises a defendant as to the nature of the charges, including the exact codes, sections and statutes which are alleged to have been violated. The defendant is then given information and advised of his or her rights.

The defendant, if represented by an attorney, usually enters a plea. In your case, we will enter a plea of not guilty or continue the matter for a later plea of not guilty.

If the matter is a misdemeanor, the judge will then continue it for another hearing. The next hearing is usually called a pre-trial conference. You do not need to be present at the arraignment or pre-trial conference.

If the matter is a felony, the judge will then continue it for motions or a preliminary hearing. You will be further advised once the matter is set for a hearing.

An arraignment in Butte County is sometimes handled in front of a clerk, without a judge present. Unless the matter is a felony, a district attorney is usually not present present.

If your matter is a misdemeanor, you should have already signed and been given a copy of your Advisement of Rights form and the waiver of personal appearance, so you do not have to be personally present in court. If you have not done this, please contact our office.

If your matter is filed as a felony, you must be present at each and every court appearance, unless otherwise notified.


Summary of Legal Rights

1. Right to know the charge

2. Right to an attorney

3. Right to a court appointed attorney, if legally indigent

4. Right to separate counsel, if there are co-defendants involved with your case

5. Right to a continuance and delay, if required

6. Right to be released on bail or on your own recognizance without bail

7. Right to know the various pleas available

8. Right to a preliminary hearing (for those charged with a felony)

9. Right to trial by jury or judge

10. Right to see, hear and confront witnesses

11. Right to subpoena witnesses and evidence

12. Right to remain silent (self-incrimination)

13. Right to know penalty

14. Presumption of innocence

15. Right to appeal some adverse decisions

For further explanation of each right, refer to the Advisement of Rights form you signed.