Published: July 28, 2017
Criminal Process - Article 1:
What is an initial hearing and when do they happen:
When an individual is charged and arrested for a criminal offense they must be promptly brought before a judicial officer in the county is which the arrest/offense was made. Ind. Code §35-33-7-1. This first court appearance is the "Initial Hearing".
What happens at the initial hearing:
At the initial hearing the court will inform you of the charges against you and will also advise you of your rights. The court will ask you of your intent to hire an attorney and will advise that you have a right to have an attorney appointed to you if you cannot afford an attorney. If you cannot hire an attorney the court will ask questions to see if you qualify to have a public defender appointed. If you do get a public defender appointed you are still able to hire different counsel in the future if you are able to do so.
If you show a desire to have an attorney the court may enter a not guilty plea on your behalf at the initial hearing. If the judge does ask you how you would like to plead, generally it is not a good idea to plead guilty. It is important to have an attorney evaluate your case and advise you before a guilty plea should be entered. Entering a "not guilty" plea at the initial hearing will not hurt your case and will not affect your ability to enter a guilty plea at a later date.
When will the Initial Hearing take place:
If the individual is in custody this hearing is generally done within 48 hours. If the individual has posted bond or was released upon their own recognizance then it will be scheduled within 20 days of the arrest. Ind. Code §35-33-7-1.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense it is important to get representation. The attorneys at Vanderpool Law Firm have the knowledge and experience to evaluate your case and advise you on the best way to proceed. We provide personal and professional representation to all of our clients. Call us today if you need help with a criminal offense.