What Will Happen At My Initial Appearance In Federal Court?

After an arrest, you will be taken in front of a U.S. magistrate judge as soon as possible for your Initial Appearance. At your Initial Appearance, the judge will explain to you the offense(s) with which you have been charged. He or she will explain some of your rights and ask you if you are able to hire your own lawyer or if you would like to apply for a court-appointed lawyer. The magistrate judge will ask the government if they are “moving for detention” in your case. If the government moves for detention, then they are asking the court to hold you in jail until your case is heard. This is common in federal court. You have a right to a detention hearing if the government “moves for detention.” If the government does not move for detention, you will be released until your arraignment.

After the initial appearance you will be interviewed by a probation officer. The probation officer should not ask you about facts relating to your criminal charges. He or she may ask about your family history, substance abuse history, or other personal information. It is important to have your federal criminal defense attorney by your side during this interview. The information collected in this interview will be given to the magistrate judge at your detention hearing. At the detention hearing the magistrate judge will determine if you will be released prior to your arraignment.

For more information about the biggest mistakes people make in federal criminal cases that cost them years away from their families and the most effective ways to avoid these mistakes please call (877) 593-4233 to request a free copy of my book, Busted by the Federal Authorities, A Handbook for Defendants facing Federal Criminal Prosecution or to speak with an experienced professional about your case.


R. Clarke Speaks
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Trial Lawyer and Founder of Speaks Law Firm, P.C.
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