If you have been charged with a misdemeanor in Santa Clara County, your case will proceed in the following manner:
ARRAIGNMENT: Typically, you are advised of your charges and asked if you have a private attorney or need a public defender. If you need a public Defender, indicate so at this time.
PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE: After discussing your case with you, your attorney will discuss your case with the District Attorney and the Court to see whether an agreeable resolution can be reached. There may be more than one Pre-Trial Conference in order to prepare for this discussion. If an agreement cannot be reached the case is set for Jury Trial.
WAIVING TIME: If you are not in custody, you have the right to go to trial within 45 days of your arraignment/plea. If it is necessary to continue your case beyond that deadline in order to prepare your case, you may be asked to "waive time." You are not giving up your right to go to trial, just the right to have the trial within 45 days. If you are in custody, you have a right to go to trial within 30 days of your arraignment/plea.
PLEA: This is where you plead "Not Guilty," "Nolo Contendere" (No Contest), or "Guilty." Your attorney can explain the differences to you.
Alternate Defender representation
MEET WITH PARALEGAL
MEET WITH ATTORNEY
(Prior to Pre-Trial Conference)
MEET WITH PARALEGAL: The paralegal will screen your case for financial eligibility and will take a statement from you regarding your side of the case. You will be asked to report your income to help determine eligibility for Public Defender services.
ATTORNEY ASSIGNED: The case will be assigned to an attorney and discovery will be requested to prepare for the Pre-Trial Conference. You may contact the Public Defender's Office to get your attorney's name.
MEET WITH ATTORNEY: You may call to make an appointment to meet with your attorney. If there is insufficient time to meet before the next court date, your attorney will be prepared to meet with you in court at the Pre Trial Conference.
CONTACTING YOUR ATTORNEY: If you are in custody there is a direct call number for the Office of the Public Defender and the Alternate Defender's Office. You can also view the staff directory to obtain your attorney's direct line and call him/her collect from your facility. If you are out of custody you can call the main office number (408) 299-7200 or your attorney's direct line.