Do I need to be present at the arraignment?

Under the Penal Code Section 977:


In most circumstances, NO. The accused does not need to be present at the arraignment, and he/she may appear by counsel. The accused must be present if the misdemeanor involves domestic violence or driving under the influence. For purposes of this statute, a misdemeanor offense involving driving under the influence shall include a misdemeanor violation of any of the following:

(A) Subdivision (b) of Section 191.5
(B) Section 23103 as specified in Section 23103.5 of the Vehicle Code
(C) Section 23152 of the Vehicle Code
(D) Section 23153 of the Vehicle Code.

If your case is in San Diego County:

San Diego County adjusted the rules relating to the accused presence on the day of the arraignment.

The defendant must be present for arraignment only if:

1. The defendant is in custody on this or any other case.
2. The case charges domestic violence or child abuse.
3. The case is being prosecuted by the Consumer Fraud or Code Enforcement Divisions of the City Attorney’s office.
4. A victim has elected to exercise the right to be present at the arraignment.
5. Any previously posted cash bail or bond has been forfeited.


The accused shall be present at the arraignment, at the time of plea, during the preliminary hearing, during those portions of the trial when evidence is taken before the trier of fact, and at the time of the imposition of sentence. 

If you would like to know more information on Arraignment Proceedings, click here

If you have been charged with a crime, please call us at 619-357-6677