What is a First Appearance? How Can an Attorney Help Me?Written on June 30, 2015
First appearance is a preliminary court hearing you may experience if you have been arrested. It’s not, however, a mandatory hearing. If you are arrested for an offense, and bond out of jail within the first few hours, a first appearance will not occur.
In Cobb County, Georgia, a first appearance is held twice a day, every day of the year. The defendant will appear before a magistrate judge. A first appearance is a preliminary court hearing after you have been arrested. Individuals that cannot bond out of jail (or those that don’t have the ability to post bond) will appear before the judge. In some counties, like the Cobb County courthouse, the judge appears on video, and you may not see them face –to- face. That may seem easier at first, but video carries a responsibility you should remember: You are being recorded.
A first appearance is very different than other court appearances. It is different in that the judge will instruct you NOT to mention any facts of your case. The first appearance will not be about your case, or be a trial, of any sort. It won’t matter to the judge at this point, if you are guilty or innocent. The goal from the judge is to make sure you understand your rights and have an appropriate bond for the charge against you.
Some people may think that this brief appearance doesn’t matter and that you can’t change the outcome, however, it is good advice for you to have an attorney by your side. The attorneys at The Silverbach Group have the experience to assist you and make sure you have a fair bond. An attorney could get your bond lowered or argue that you should get a signature bond.
A signature bond allows you to sign yourself out of jail and remain free until your next court date. Depending on your charge, it could be several months between your first appearance hearing and your next court date. Imagine if you have to sit in jail and wait for the next hearing. Having an attorney by your side could make the outcome very different for you.
At your first appearance, you may be questioned about your criminal history and how long you have resided in Georgia. It’s important to be honest, here, as hiding important details could get you in more trouble. At your hearing, it is likely that your criminal record will be on their desk at the time that you are in front of the camera. An experienced attorney will be able to mention the appropriate legal points that may sway the judge in your favor. It is not advised to appear before a judge without an experienced attorney.
If you or a loved one have been arrested, it’s critical to contact an attorney as soon as possible. A first appearance hearing will generally happen within the first 24 hours of incarceration. If you or a family member are held without bond, or with a very high bond amount, contact The Silverbach Group at once to protect your legal rights and your freedom. You can reach us at (770) 635-0334.