Do I Need A Lawyer For My First Appearance?

You don’t NEED an attorney for your first appearance in court, but it certainly helps.

Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony, if you have not yet hired an attorney you must appear on the first court date provided to you by the magistrate or on the written citation. You can confirm your Wake County court date here.

If you have an attorney on your first misdemeanor court date, you may or may not have to be present, depending on what court room the charge is set in. Your attorney will tell you whether or not you must be in court and what courtroom to be in. The judge may ask you to sign a waiver of counsel waiving the right to a court-appointed attorney if you have already hired a lawyer.

If you have an attorney on your first felony date, the judge will ask your lawyer to provide a waiver of court-appointed counsel and a new date will be set. Ideally you will be in and out of court quickly.

If you do not have an attorney on you first Wake County court date in Courtroom 101, you will potentially be given the opportunity to apply for court-appointed counsel if you are eligible. If you are not eligible, you will speak to the Assistant District Attorney about your charge. The case might be resolved that day depending on what you are cited with.

If you do not have an attorney on your first court date in 303 or another misdemeanor courtroom, the judge will allow you to apply for court-appointed counsel if you so choose. The same follows for felony court in 301.

Do you need a lawyer for your first court date?

  • If your court date is in 101, it’s more convenient to have an attorney because you likely will not have to appear. The attorney may be able to take care of your charge that day.
  • If your court date is in any other courtroom, an attorney can help facilitate everything so you don’t have to be in court as long.
  • If you are incarcerated, having an attorney appear with on your first appearance may help you obtain a lower bond.

What are the benefits of having an attorney on your first Raleigh court date?

  • You might not have to appear, depending on which courtroom the charge is set in.
  • Your bond might be lowered if you are incarcerated.
  • Everything tends to go quicker because a lawyer knows who to speak to and how to have your case heard quickly.
First Court Date Wake County Justice Center Raleigh

Have you been stopped for speeding, cited for misdemeanor larceny, a local ordinance, or possession of marijuana, or arrested for embezzlement or some other felony? Contact William Pruden at 919-880-2124 for a free consultation on your charge.

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