Initial Appearances in Felony Cases

Criminal Defense Lawyer for Phoenix Area Residents

It is normal to feel scared and anxious after being accused of committing a felony. Felonies are serious and can result in incarceration. You may be worried about repercussions for you and your family. If you retain legal representation as soon as possible once you realize you are being investigated for a serious criminal charge, your attorney will conduct his own investigation and develop any evidence that might help you. James E. Novak is a former prosecutor who now provides strong defenses to the accused. As a Phoenix criminal defense attorney, he can use his insights from the time he spent as a prosecutor to help you assert your rights.

Initial Appearances in Felony Cases

The police can hold you for up to 24 hours after an arrest before your initial court appearance. You may be entitled to see a criminal defense attorney, and you should exercise that right before going to the initial appearance.

After you’re arrested, whether at a crime scene or due to an arrest warrant, you’ll be taken to jail and booked or registered in the criminal justice system. You will be noted as having committed a particular offense. Your initial appearance is within 24 hours. You’ll be ordered to go to an initial appearance even if you’ve received a Grand Jury summons.

The initial appearance in a felony case is the first time you’ll go before a judge or commissioner. It is important to make a good impression. The purpose of the initial appearance is to stop the police from holding you too long after arrest before letting you know what the charges are and what your constitutional rights are. Dates may be set with regard to other appearances.

At the initial appearance, you’ll be informed about what the felony allegations are. You’ll be advised of your right to an attorney or else a public defender is appointed.

Terms of Pretrial Release

The court also considers whether to set bail at an initial appearance. The judge will set bail when she feels a defendant might not appear in court again. If you fail to appear before the court in subsequent hearings, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. When bail is set high, it may be possible to later bring a motion to reduce bail.

Sometimes defendants, such as those who have been accused of a nonviolent crime or who have enough community ties, can be released on their own recognizance. That means you’re making a promise to go back to court when it’s required. It can be helpful to be represented by someone who can make the argument that you should be released in this way.

In addition to setting bail or releasing you on your own recognizance, the court will establish the conditions of your release. Additionally, a date will be set for a status conference and preliminary hearing. All of these steps are vital to your defense.

If you’re accused of a serious or violent felony, you may be held in jail. For example, if you’re accused of homicide in connection with gang activity, you may not be released. Alternatively, the judge may order your release on cash bond with a significant bond required. If you’re incarcerated without bond, you are entitled to be released in 48 hours unless the prosecutor files a direct complaint against you.

Consult an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Phoenix

If you have questions about your initial appearance in a felony case, a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can help you understand the process. Mr. Novak provides sound legal counsel to those accused of a variety of felony charges in the Phoenix area including Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and across Maricopa County. Sometimes it is possible to resolve a case successfully very early on, even during an investigation, and it’s wise to get an experienced criminal defense attorney involved as soon you understand you’re a suspect. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form.

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