Presentencing: Preparing for Your Court Appearance

Being charged with a crime can be stressful and confusing. The time before your trial, known as presentencing, is crucial for understanding your options and potentially improving your outcome. This page offers information specifically for those in Orange County, California.

What is Presentencing?

Presentencing is the period between your arrest and your trial date. During this time, you’ll gather information, explore your legal options, and potentially negotiate a plea bargain. This process is most effective if you begin as soon as possible, ideally before an arrest or after being released on bail.

Importance of Legal Representation

Consulting with an attorney is highly recommended during presentencing. According to former Orange County jail inmates, legal representation can significantly impact your chances of avoiding jail time or receiving a more favorable sentence.

  • Benefits of an Attorney:
    • Negotiate plea bargains: An attorney can work with the prosecutor to potentially reduce charges or lessen your sentence.
    • Fight the charges: Your lawyer will build a strong defense to argue against the accusations.
    • Navigate the legal system: An attorney can guide you through the complexities of the court process and ensure your rights are protected.

Finding an Attorney

While attorney fees can vary, consider the potential consequences of not having legal representation. The cost of an attorney may be offset by the potential loss of income due to jail time and the long-term impact on your ability to find future employment. Here are some resources to help you find legal help:

Considering a Public Defender

If you cannot afford an attorney, you will be assigned a public defender. It’s important to understand that public defenders often manage heavy caseloads. While they are committed to representing you, an independent attorney may be able to dedicate more time and attention to your specific case.

Following Your Attorney’s Advice

Regardless of whether you hire an attorney or use a public defender, it’s crucial to follow their legal guidance. They will advise you on the best course of action, which may involve delaying a trial or rejecting an initial plea offer. Trust their professional judgment; they are working in your best interest.

Considering Bail

If offered bail, taking it can be advantageous. It allows you to prepare your defense outside of jail, maintain contact with family and friends, and potentially gather evidence for your case. Additionally, appearing in court in your own clothing can project a more positive image to the judge.


This webpage provides general information and should not be considered legal advice. For specific questions regarding your case, consult with a qualified attorney.

Additional Resources