After you are arrested, or even simply cited for a crime, especially if this is your first time dealing with the police and other authorities, you may be going through a whole range of emotions including fear, denial, and confusion. While this is completely understandable, it is also imperative that you compose yourself enough to take the most important steps to protect your rights, get you out of jail as quickly as possible, and work to ensure you do not end up pleading guilty to something you do not have to. The most vital thing you or a loved one can do to give yourself the best chance of bringing the matter to a successful resolution is to reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands how the system works.
At Overson Law, PLLC, our skilled Utah first/initial appearance attorneys have years of experience successfully defending clients charged with all sorts of crimes throughout the state at their initial appearance and beyond. We understand how these appearance work, what comes after them, and the best ways to help you get your charges downgraded or dismissed. For a free consultation, contact our firm today at (801) 758-2287.
The First / Initial Appearance in a Utah Criminal Case
In cases where you are cited and released, which often occurs for minor infractions like traffic violations, you will either have a court date on your citation or on a summons mailed to you shortly thereafter. This gives you the advantage of having more time to contact a skilled Utah attorney for a first appearance such as those at Overson Law, PLLC. If you contact us fast enough after your citation, we can try to reach out to the prosecutor prior to your court date and get all the evidence, so that we can assess the case and work out a potential deal with the prosecutor to get the entire matter handled at your first/initial appearance.
In most cases where police believe you have committed a crime, you will be placed under arrest and held at the station or the local jail for up to 72 hours before your initial appearance occurs, usually at the same time as your bail hearing. The initial appearance consists of the judge reading your charges against you and advising you of your rights during a criminal case, such as your right to be represented by counsel if you are not already. In misdemeanor cases, your arraignment will also occur at the initial appearance, while in felony cases this will not occur until later. The arraignment is where you enter you initial plea of guilty or not guilty.
You will want to make sure you have a skilled attorney for an initial appearance, especially if you have a misdemeanor case. At Overson Law, PLLC, our lawyers are likely to advise you to enter an initial plea of not guilty while we request the full evidence from the prosecutor and assess the strength of the case. You will also want representation for your bail hearing, where the judge will make a decision about whether or not you can be released while the case is pending or if you must be held in jail. Our skilled bail hearing attorneys know how to make the most persuasive arguments to get you released on little to no bail.
How The Case Will Proceed after the Initial Appearance
In felony cases, there will be an optional preliminary hearing where the prosecutor must show that their case meets the probable cause standard. The arraignment will not occur in theses case until after the preliminary hearing has been held, if one occurs. Once we have dealt with your arraignment and bail hearing, then we can proceed to turn our focus to requesting all of the outstanding evidence and negotiating a deal with the prosecutor to get your charges downgraded or dismissed.
In cases where you are a first-time offender or a have a limited criminal history, we may be able to convince the prosecutor to allow you into a pre-trial diversion program or to enter a plea in abeyance. A pre-trial diversion program will involve different court-ordered components depending on your situation, such as mandatory drug or alcohol counseling or community service, and if you complete the program successfully, your charges will be dropped and you will not have a criminal record. Similarly, a plea in abeyance is when you agree to a guilty plea but the plea is not entered, or kept in abeyance, for a period of time, usually a year. If you stay out of further trouble and in compliance with the court’s conditions for that time period, your plea will never be entered and the charges will instead be dropped.
If pre-trial diversion or a plea in abeyance are not a possibility in your case, then we can try to work out a different deal with the prosecutor. Some options include the prosecutor recommending a lenient sentence to the judge in exchange for you entering a guilty plea and saving the state the time and costs related to putting on a trial, or the prosecutor downgrading the charge to something less serious in exchange for your guilty plea. Of course, if you do not wish to take a deal, our skilled trial lawyers at Overson Law, PLLC stand ready to fight for your innocence in the court room. We will leave no stone unturned crafting the best possible defense to get a not guilty verdict handed down in your case.
Call Our Experienced Utah First / Initial Appearance Hearing Attorneys Today
The first, or initial, appearance can be an important early step in your case, but unfortunately, in most cases, it is just the beginning of the process. It is vital that you retain a skilled Utah first/initial appearance lawyer as soon after your arrest as possible not only so we can represent you at the initial appearance and bail hearing, which will occur fairly quickly, but also so we can get to work on the rest of your case. We will use our years of institutional knowledge and experience to work to bring your case to the best possible resolution. Call us today at (801) 758-2287 for free consultation.