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Court Hearings

Your first appearance in court is called the Initial Appearance (IA). If arrested, your IA will take place as soon as possible. If you are summoned to court, your court date will appear on your summons or ticket.

At the IA, the Judge will:

  1. Inform you of your charges
  2. Appoint you an attorney (based on need and qualification)
  3. Set the next court date
  4. Make a release decision

If you are detained at the IA, your next hearing will be a Detention Hearing (DH). At this hearing, the Judge will decide whether or not to release you.

At the detention hearing, you may also have a Preliminary Hearing (PH). The Judge will decide if there is enough evidence for the case to proceed. Usually, only felony cases will have a PH. Your attorney will be present for both the DH and the PH.

If you are released at the IA and charged with a misdemeanor, your next hearing will be a Status Hearing. At that time, the judge will set your next court date.

For persons charged with a felony, after your PH your case will be given to the grand jury. The grand jury will review evidence and decide whether or not to indict you. Being indicted means a grand jury believes a crime has been committed and you are probably the person who committed that crime. Once indicted, you will be arraigned. At the arraignment, you will enter a plea and the Judge will set a trial date.

Before the trial, there may be hearings to address motions and evidence (discovery).

In both misdemeanor and felony cases, the next hearing will be the trial. At this point, you will either be acquitted, found guilty, or enter a plea of guilty. If you are acquitted, your case is terminated. If found guilty or you plead guilty, you must proceed to the U.S. Probation Office following your court hearing for a Presentence Investigation (PSI). This investigation will help assist the Judge in determining your sentence.

If you are found guilty, your next hearing will be the sentencing. At your hearing, the judge will tell you your sentence.

After all hearings, if you are on pretrial services supervision, you are to report to Pretrial Services Office.