Q: Who decides what charges to file, and how do they make that decision?
A: An assistant district attorney reviews cases brought to the District Attorney’s Office by local law enforcement agencies. The attorney reviews the reports in light of current law and the evidence available to decide the appropriate filing decisions.

Q: What is an arraignment?
A: An arraignment is a hearing in court in which the defendant is formally charged with an offense, given a copy of the complaint, and informed of his/her Constitutional rights. The defendant enters a plea of guilty or not guilty at this hearing.

Q:  How can the defendant plead “not guilty” when he/she confessed to the crime?
A:  Even though the defendant has given a signed confession, he/she has the constitutional right to a trial.  Often defendants are advised to plead “not guilty” at arraignment so their attorney has the opportunity to file motions in order to receive information about the crime.

Q: If I miss work to testify, will the District Attorney’s Office pay for my loss in wages?
A: No. Witnesses must go to court to testify about matters in which they have knowledge. It is a civic duty imposed upon all citizens in order to insure a just and fair judicial system.

Q: If I get a subpoena, do I have to go to court?
A: Yes. You must go to court. If you fail to do so, the judge may impose a fine or jail sentence. Be sure to bring your subpoena to court with you.