My wife is being charged with welfare fraud. We retained an attorney for $3500 which does not include a trial. She had an arraignment, she pled not guilty. She had preliminary hearing, and a pre trial. We notified the attorney that we could not afford to have him represent us for the trial. She was appointed a public defender and given a court date for arraignment again. Why would we have to start over?
2 Answers from Attorneys
At one time in California we had a Municipal Court and a Superior Court. In Felony cases, unless the DA decided to present the case to a Grand Jury, the case started out in the Municipal Court and if after a Preliminary Examination the Court held the client to answer the case was transferred to the Superior Court for trial. The first appearance in the Municipal Court would be an arraignment on the Complaint filed by the District Attorney. After the Preliminary Examination the DA would file an Information and the first appearance in the Superior Court would be an arraignment on the Information. While we no longer have a Municipal Court the DA still files a Complaint at the first court appearance and an Information at the first appearance after the Preliminary Examination. While this may seem confusing the filing of both a Complaint and an Information and arraignments on both of them continues. It has nothing to do with the change of counsel and it occurs in every case that proceeds beyond a Preliminary Examination.
The arraignment is on the information, which normally follows a preliminary hearing on the complaint. So your wife was arraigned on the complaint, but not yet on the information.
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