The Criminal Defense Process Part 5 – What Happens at your First Appearance?
In this video, I am going to be talking about first appearance. Now, first appearance is your initial court date. This will be the first time getting your chance to be in front of a judge about your case. First appearances, a lot of people think is a time when you are going to get to argue your case and you are going to get to talk or address the allegations against you. That is simply not true. First appearance is mainly a housekeeping type appearance. It is going to have a couple of minor things that can be talked about that will impact your case. The primary one is modifications to bond. At your first appearance, the judge has to do a few procedural things like read you your charges and make sure that you understand what you are charged with, talk to you about if you have a lawyer or if you have the funds to hire a lawyer, and things like that. The main thing that is going to happen at your first appearance is that you are going to be able to talk or make a motion to modify any bond that has been set for you. Now, when you originally get arrested, at the start of the case, the judge will make a bond for you. Usually that is an amount of money that you will post with the court so that you can get out of jail. If that bond amount is too high, or there is some sort of other condition on the bond, at your first appearance is going to be your best time to try to get those bond conditions modified or the amount lowered. After you make your motion for bond, the judge will make a determination right then and there whether he or she wants to allow your bond to be modified. One of the last things that a judge will do at your first appearance date is talk with your lawyer and the state’s lawyer about what they want to set your case for, and what will happen at your next court date, whether it will be a meaningful hearing like a preliminary examination, or whether it will be just a scheduling. For more information about how the criminal defense process works, please watch our next video about initial discovery.