Wednesday, February 28

What to Expect During Your Court Appearance

Most people have only ever experienced court through TV dramas and reality shows. If you’ve never been in court before, the whole process can be frightening. Like most courts of law, the Hayward criminal court has a specific process and rules regarding dress and behavior. If you want to make a good impression, learn the rules before your appearance.

About Your Court Appearance

The first thing you need to know about your court appearance in Alameda County is that it’s mandatory. If you don’t show up, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest, any bond revoked and a fine of $300 imposed. If you can’t make it to court on the appointed date, you must notify your attorney, the Criminal Division Clerk’s Office at the appropriate courthouse and the bondsman, if you’re out on bail.

The dress code for court appearances is business attire. You’ll have to go through a metal detector and weapons screening before entering the courthouse, and leave your cell phone or any other devices in your vehicle. Hats should be removed upon entering the courthouse and they’re not allowed in any courtroom.

What to Bring With You to Court

Obviously, you should bring your lawyer, if you have one. For initial appearances or arraignments, you’ll also need to bring any of the following that apply:

– Valid photo ID – Copy of your court citation or order to appear – Hearing notice – Bond receipt – Release paperwork from jail – Sentencing or probation order – Money for fines, restitution and/or court fees

If you don’t have a lawyer, and are unable to afford representation, you must prove financial need. The court will then appoint an attorney to represent you. At this point, you may be able to get a postponement in order to give your lawyer time to review and prepare your case. You can also elect to proceed after having a few minutes to confer with your court-appointed attorney.

If you or a family member has been arrested in the Oakland community, your first phone call should be to a competent criminal defense lawyer.