What is First Appearance?

When a person is arrested and is held in jail, the law requires that a  judge review the case within 24 hours of the arrest. In Marion County, this First Appearance hearing is usually held in the morning between 8 and 9 a.m. On weekdays, the Judge and the attorneys are at the courthouse but the inmate remains at the jail and will appear over a video monitor. Family/friends may attend the First Appearance hearing at the courthouse.  On weekends and holidays, the Judge and attorneys conduct the First Appearance hearing at the jail. Some of the judges will not allow family/friends at this hearing if it is being held at the jail. Therefore it is advised that you contact the Marion County Jail directly. At First Appearance, the court will review the charges to determine if the police had probable cause to make the arrest,  review the bond, and appoint a public defender if the person qualifies and requests one. In misdemeanor cases, the court may allow the person to enter a plea and be sentenced. We strongly advise against entering a guilty plea at the First Appearance hearing and would encourage you to first consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case.

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