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  • In either a misdemeanor or a felony case, you will have an initial appearance. At this appearance, you’ll be served with a criminal complaint that outlines the charge, the probable cause supporting the charge, and the penalty. In a misdemeanor case, you will also enter a plea “not guilty” and you will be given a trial date.
  • For a felony, the next step is the preliminary hearing. At this hearing, the prosecution must present enough evidence to convince the judge that you should stand trial for a felony offense. If it’s decided that your case will go to trial, you then attend an arraignment. At the arraignment, the district attorney will serve you with formal charges for a particular felony. At this time, you must enter a plea.
  • In both misdemeanor and felony cases, you have the right to a jury trial. The jury verdict must be unanimous.