What many people who have never had any prior experience with the criminal justice system do not realize is how quickly the process starts moving after your arrest or citation. Especially if you have been arrested, you will need to act as swiftly as possible to take the steps necessary to secure your constitutional rights and give yourself the best chance of getting your charges downgraded or dismissed and bring the matter to the best possible resolution. Perhaps the most important step you can take it to retain skilled legal counsel before your first / initial appearance and bail hearing occur.
At Overson Law PLLC, our skilled Salt Lake City initial appearance hearing attorney have years of experienced successfully working with clients charged with all sorts of crime at their initial appearance and beyond. We will work to get you released from detention as quickly as possible and will then turn our attentions to getting the underlying matter dealt with and protecting your future. For a free consultation, call our office today at (801) 758-2287.
How Does the Initial Appearance Hearing in Salt Lake City Work
Sometimes for minor infractions or misdemeanors, the police will have the option to write you a ticket with a court date on it and let you go on your way. If this is the case, you will have the advantage of having slightly more time to get into contact with a skilled criminal defense lawyer like those at Overson Law, PLLC before your court date, which is usually within a month at most. However, the sooner you get in touch with us, the more time we will have to get into contact with the prosecutor, review the evidence, and try to work out a deal for the entire matter to be resolved at your first court appearance.
More typically, you will be placed under arrest and brought to the local police station for the booking process, which involves you being photographed and fingerprinted and the police collecting your biographical information. After booking, you will kept in the station’s holding cell or at the local jail until your initial appearance and bail hearing can be held, usually at the same time. While this appearance can occur up to 72 hours after your booking, it usually happens much sooner unless it is a weekend of a court holiday. This is why it is imperative that you or a loved one contact a skilled defense lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest, so that we can be present for these important events in your case.
At the initial appearance, the judge will read the charges against you and advise you of the rights you will have during the criminal justice process. Your lawyer will enter their appearance. In misdemeanor cases, you will also have your arraignment at this hearing, where you will be asked to enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty. At your bail hearing, the judge will make a decision about whether you can be released while your underlying case is resolved and, if so, whether to set bail. Our skilled Utah bail hearing attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC can make the most persuasive argument to get you released on little to no bail, based on such factors as your criminal history, ties to the community, flight risk, and the nature of the alleged offense.
What Happens in a Utah Criminal Case after the First Appearance
What happens after the initial appearance will depend on whether you are being charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. In felony cases, there is an optional hearing known as the preliminary hearing where the prosecutor will have to show that there is probable cause for the case to proceed. If probable cause is shown or if you choose to waive this hearing, the next step in the case will be the formal arraignment where you enter your initial plea.
Once a plea has been entered and bail has been set or a release decision has been made, then our skilled lawyers can focus our attention to doing all in our power to get the charges against you downgraded or outright dismissed. If you are a first-time offender or have a limited criminal record, we may be able to convince the prosecutor to allow you to enter in a pre-trial diversion program or to enter a plea in abeyance. A pre-trial diversion program, if completed successfully, will result in your charges being dropped, as will a plea in abeyance if you stay out of trouble for the prescribed period of time after the court takes the plea.
If these options for dismissal are not on the table in your case, we will still have the possibility of working out a plea deal with the prosecutor. One possibility is you entering a guilty plea and saving the state the time of putting on a trial in exchange for the charge to being downgraded to something less serious, such as from a misdemeanor to an infraction. Another is the prosecutor making a lenient sentencing recommendation to the judge, which the judge will almost always follow. Of course, if you are not interested in a deal, our skilled trial lawyers at Overson Law, PLLC will leave no stone unturned working for a not guilty verdict at your trial.
Call Our Salt Lake City First (Initial) Appearance Hearing Attorneys Today
The first appearance is an important part of your case, especially in misdemeanor cases where you will be asked to enter a plea. It is also usually coupled with your bail hearing where a major decision will be made about whether or not you can be released or must remain in jail while the underlying charges are resolved. However, these proceedings are typically just the beginning of your case. Our experienced Salt Lake City first initial appearance hearing attorneys can assist you at these early proceedings and throughout your entire case. We will work to bring the matter to the best possible conclusion for you and your future. Calk our firm at (801) 758-2287 today for a free consultation.