First Court Date (1st Appearance) FAQ
Q: What is a First Appearance?
A: The First Appearance is your first court date after being released from jail. The date is written on your personal or surety bond.
Q: Do I need to go to this setting? Will it look good for me to go? Will it show the judge that I’m taking this seriously?
A: You only need to go if you don't have an attorney. This is just an administrative setting. It isn’t even in a courtroom. The only person you would see is a receptionist for court administration. In fact, nowadays they are texting defendants with a new court date a few days before the court date on the bond.
Q: Do I need to tell you if I receive a the text from the court?
A: No. We track the court date.
Q: Then why do they have this setting?
A: The First Appearance setting (usually 21-30 days from arrest) gives the County Attorney time to review the case and file the formal charge. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes paperwork that must be done by the County Attorney to prepare a criminal charge.
Q: Will you find out anything at the First Appearance?
A: We find out which court you have been assigned to and the next court date.
Q: Do you have any influence on which court we get assigned to? Does it make a difference which court we end up in?
A: No. The court selection process is random. While each county judge has slightly different procedures and personalities, it won’t ultimately make a difference in how the case is resolved. This is a major advantage to having a case in Travis County. All of the judges are reasonable.
Q: How do I find out which court we were assigned to? And the next date?
A: We will send you an update e-mail by the end of the day on your First Appearance date with that information.
Q: I’ve had two First Appearances in a row. What does that mean?
A: It usually just means that the County Attorney is behind on paperwork (filing the case). It isn’t good or bad for us. They will usually have your case filed and the court assigned by the next date.
Q: I still have questions. Can I call you?
A: Absolutely. Call our office (512) 472-1113. Or send us an e-mail at email@example.com.