Arraignments Within 48 Hours No Exceptions – New AB61 Passes out of Committee

BY : Chastaine | Jones
Written by: Chastaine | Jones

In California, if a person is arrested on Friday night, or a weekend, they can be held for more than the required 48 hours before they are brought to court. A new law would change this.

Arraignment is a legal proceeding in which a defendant appears before a judge to hear the charges against them and enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. In California, arraignments are typically held within 48 hours of an arrest, although this timeline can vary depending on the circumstances.

During the arraignment, the judge informs the defendant of their constitutional rights, such as the right to representation by an attorney and the right to a jury trial. The defendant also has the opportunity to enter a plea, although they may also request a continuance to allow more time to consult with an attorney.

After the arraignment, the case proceeds to the next stage of the criminal justice process, which may include pretrial hearings, plea bargaining, or a trial. Depending on the nature and seriousness of the charges, defendants have a right to a speedy trial within 30 days for misdemeanors, and a right to a preliminary hearing within 10 court days, and no more than 60 calendar days for felonies.

The 48-hour requirement is often extended to up to six days if a person is arrested on a Friday night or during the weekend. If Monday is a holiday, a person arrested on Friday night might not be arraigned until Wednesday.

On March 7, 2023, AB61 was passed by the California Assembly Public Safety Committee. AB61 will require that arraignments occur within 48 hours, with no exceptions, even on weekends and holidays. It is anticipated that this change in the law will require night court or weekend court to ensure that defendants have their arraignment within the time limit. The bill will now go before the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

The attorneys at Chastaine Jones are watching this bill with great interest. As we all know, an arrest can jeopardize a person’s physical heath, mental well-being, as well as putting one’s livelihood in jeopardy. Chastaine Jones supports this bill as step in the right direction in treating the accused with dignity and respect. If you or a loved one has been arrested, do not delay in contacting competent counsel to advise you and your family.

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