Anne Bishop, P. O. Box 313, Gainesville, GA 30503 (770) 783-5296

A. Bishop Law, LLC

Georgia First Appearance the First Hearing After Arrest: What Happens?

After being handcuffed by police and thrown into jail, many people want to know what will happen next. Usually, the first court appearance will be a brief hearing called a First Appearance.


View More Criminal Defense Articles

After a person is arrested and within seventy-two hours that a person must go before a judge at a hearing known as a First Appearance Hearing.  This usually takes place in front of a Georgia Magistrate Judge.  At the First Appearance the judge confirms the identify of the person, informs the person of the charges and their rights.  Also, very importantly, the person has the option to elect or waive a Committal/ Probable Cause hearing.

1. What It Is Not: A First Appearance is not is a trial. It is an important part of the process, but it is no so important that a lawyer is mandated.  Constitutionally, a lawyer does not have to be present for the judge to inform a defendant of the charges.

2. What It Is: Many times it is over a video conference, with a camera and a monitor. This way you see and hear the judge and the judge sees and hears you.   The judge will make sure who you are, inform you of your rights and then inform you of the charges. Probably the most important occurrence is that the person has the opportunity to request or deny a committal hearing, or probable cause hearing.

3. Committal/ Probable Cause Hearing: Probably one of the most important things to occur at a First Appearance is to request a Committal/ Probable Cause Hearing. This is a hearing that is similar to a trial (without a finding of guilty or not guilty) in which the State presents evidence to convince the Court that the case should go forward onto trial. The defense can question witnesses and call witnesses of their own. Generally, this hearing occurs a couple of weeks after the First Appearance.


At A. Bishop Law, our Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney welcomes questions on Criminal Defense laws, Traffic Laws and Georgia DUI laws. Please Call or Email us with any questions.

About the attorney:  Anne Bishop is a Georgia Lawyer with A. Bishop Law in Gainesville, Georgia and handles various DUI / DWIMarijuana Arrests and other Georgia Criminal Defense matters.  The law office of A. Bishop Law can assist clients throughout Georgia including: Hall County (Gainesville, OakwoodFlowery Branch), Jackson County  (Jefferson, Braselton) White County (Helen, Cleveland), Lumpkin County (Dahlonega), Dawson County (Dawsonville), Habersham County (Demorest, Cornelia), and all of Northeast Georgia.

This article and/or video should not be considered nor relied upon as legal advice since it is only intended for general overview and informational purposes. Please consult with an attorney on your specific situation in order to determine an appropriate legal course of action.

Anne Bishop
A. Bishop Law, LLC
Attorney at Law
539 Green Street NW
Phone: (770) 783-5296