This is the first time a Defendant must appear in court. An initial appearance for a person in custody must be held within 24 hours of arrest. In felony cases, a summons with the date and time of the initial appearance is sent to individuals not in custody. In misdemeanor cases, the citation contains the date, time and location for the initial appearance. At the initial appearance, four important things happen:
- The Defendant is informed of the felony or misdemeanor allegations;
- The Defendant is advised of the right to an attorney. If the Court finds the Defendant cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed.
- Defendant′s conditions of release will be established. This means the Court will determine if the person shall be released on bond, their own recognizance, or remain jailed for the safety of the community.
- Another Court date is set for the next proceeding.