Do I Need An Attorney For The First Appearance In Court?Written on October 24, 2014
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, first appearance will not occur.
In Cobb County, first appearance is held twice daily, 365 days per year, before a magistrate judge. Those who don’t bond out, or who are being held without a bond, will appear before a judge. In some counties, like Cobb, the judge appears via video.
First appearance is different than most other court appearances in that it doesn’t have anything to do with your case. The judge will, in fact, instruct you specifically to not mention any facts of your case. Guilt or innocence is not of any consequence during first appearance. Instead, the judge will make sure you understand your rights and have an appropriate bond.
Many who have been through the criminal justice system before view first appearance as a formality. You should, however, view the procedure as a very important matter. It’s a very good idea 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 may get your bond lowered or even convince the judge to give you a signature bond.
A signature bond, also known as being released on your own recognizance, allows you to sign yourself out of jail and remain free until your next court appearance. Depending on your charge, it could be several months between your first appearance hearing and your next court date. That’s a long time to sit in jail and wait.
When you stand before the judge, he or she will look at many factors. You may even be asked questions about your criminal history and how long you have resided in the state. It’s very important to answer as honestly as you can. Chances are the judge will already know the answer before the question is asked. An experienced attorney will be able to cite precedent and make the appropriate legal points that may sway the judge in your favor. If you are facing serious charges, this will also give your attorney a chance to familiarize themselves with the facts of your case which will help your defense in the long run. If you are being held without bond, an attorney from The Silverbach Group may even convince the judge to give you a bond which will allow you to go home to your family.
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 12-24 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.