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Can I plea "not guilty" and not pay bail at arraignment? Chances the judge dismisses my case?

Cerritos, CA |

I would like to plea not guilty at my upcoming arraignment for a trespassing misdemeanor. I understand at the arraignment the judge lets me know what I am being charged of and asks if I have a lawyer or want one appointed to me. I was wondering if I would be allowed to ask the judge if I can plea not guilty and not pay bail, seeing how I am a full-time college student working part-time and it's already hard as it is. Even though I was in my car, I was handed a ticket for trespassing as a pedestrian. I was in a neighborhood with the nose of my car next to a house and the rear next to the sidewalk of a park; both my passenger and I were given tickets. What're the chances that my case gets dismissed or lowered to an infraction?

Could this be sorted out at a pre-trial? How would I motion for this?

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Attorney answers 5

Best Answer

I agree with my colleagues that, if you have not already posted bail, the judge will likely continue your OR release provided you appear in court on time. It is unlikely you will get an outright dismissal without an attorney. However, the public defender (if you qualify and depending on any previous arrests) is intimately familiar with the procedures in the court and can usually help with a reduction just the same as private counsel. Plan on spending the good part of the day in court (at least the morning) and ask for a public defender. If you don’t qualify and/or don’t like any plea bargain offered, you can always as for a continuance to obtain private counsel. Good luck.

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With or without an attorney it is an uphill battle to have the matter dismissed or reduced to an infraction, but your chances increase dramatically with an attorney. You should plea not guilty and ask for OR for bail. OR is typically granted in your situation. I wish you the best.

The response above is not intended as legal advice since it’s impracticable to provide thorough, accurate advice based upon the query without additional details. It is highly recommended that one should seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting. Moreover, this response does not constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship since this message is not a confidential communication because it was posted on a public website, thereby publicly disclosing the information, which is another reason to setup a confidential meeting with an attorney.


You should be aware that there are forms of trespassing involving a vehicle. I agree that the Judge might OR you but the chances of that happening go up dramatically with an attorney present to represent you. Consult with and retain an attorney to review your facts and determine the best course of action. Good luck.


A Judge is not likely to ask you to post bail.

Seth Weinstein, Esq.
Southern California Criminal Defense Attorney
(310) 707-7131

This reply should NOT be considered a legal opinion of your case / inquiry. At this time I do not have sufficient factual/legal documentation to give a complete answer to your question and there may be more to the issues you raised then I have set out in my brief reply.


That is a ridiculous charge given the facts. It SHOULD get dismissed, at least I wouldn't plead guilty or no contest to this charge, I would fight it. You should be eligible for release on your own recognizance on such a minor charge. You should not have to post bail.

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