FIRST APPEARANCE HEARINGS IN GEORGIA
Imagine this: You, your family, or your friend get arrested. What happens
now? Well, in Georgia, once someone is arrested on criminal charges, they
will appear before a magistrate judge for what's called a First Appearance
hearing. This hearing can happen anytime after an arrest has been made
but usually takes place within three days of the arrest date--most of
the time, it’s the same or the next day. The crimes are read aloud
by the judge at this hearing, and bond options are discussed with the
Certain counties have specific rules. For example, in
Forsyth County, some charges are bondable without even seeing a judge or having to wait
for a First Appearance Hearing -- DUI, Public Drunk, Disorderly Conduct,
and other minor misdemeanors. However, if the crime is more serious or
involves a victim, typically, you will have to wait for the First Appearance
judge before getting out of jail. The most common crime on that end of
the spectrum is Family Violence crimes (such as battery against your spouse),
Stalking crimes, and any other violent crimes.
Regardless of the crime, it's important to understand that in Georgia,
you can be denied bond based on your criminal history, the allegations,
or simply because a judge doesn't feel comfortable letting you out
of jail. So call a
lawyer immediately to help you through the process.
**TIP - As of July 2021, if you are trying to watch First Appearance in
Forsyth County, go to the
jail lobby at 1:30pm during the week. There is a TV that has the hearing in real-time.