In this video, Fort Worth criminal defense attorney Benson Varghese explains what you can expect when going to criminal court in Tarrant County.
The first formal court appearance you have is called an initial appearance. The general purchase of the initial appearance is for the judge to ascertain two things. First, whether or not you have an attorney, and second, whether or not the judge should impose additional bond conditions.
The next court setting is called the consultation setting. At a consultation setting, your attorney will speak to the prosecutor. At our firm, that is likely to be the first time we’re talking to the prosecutor, but it’s a formal opportunity for us to talk to the prosecutor. That’s an opportunity that the court provides to ensure the prosecutor has communicated with the defense attorney. This could mean, making sure they’ve turned over all the evidence that they have, it also generally means that we’re going to receive an offer from the prosecution.
At our firm, we make a point of sending you the information you need for the day of your setting. This means where you should park, what floor your courts on, who your judge is, and what to expect once you get to the courtroom.
You may be one of 20, 50, 80, or even 100 other people set that day. You will have a seat in the courtroom and await your attorney. Your attorney will likely first talk to the prosecution, the court coordinator, and the judge, before calling you out of the courtroom to talk to you privately.
You’ll want to get to court at least 30 minutes before your court setting. This will give you time to get through the security line, metal detectors, find an elevator, and find the courtroom.
Courts generally start with a docket call, or calling the roll, and if you’re not present when the roll is called that could result in a bond violation and your bond being forfeited.
At the first court setting, you should not expect to be talking to anyone. The only person you’ll be talking to, besides answering roll, is your attorney. In other words, there will not be a prosecutor asking you questions, the judge will generally not address you, and there will not be any witnesses there related to your case in the courtroom.
Dress in a manner that shows respect to the court system. Wear something clean, ideally button-down, that doesn’t draw attention to yourself. Generally speaking, the only type of attention you can draw in a courtroom is negative attention. Don’t wear a t-shirt, shorts, or anything that is ripped.
Remember, you’re walking into a secure facility. Although it seems hard to fathom, we’ve seen individuals walk in with guns, knives, and even drugs. Don’t do this.
Is this your first offense? Contact us today at (817) 203-2220 or reach out online for a complimentary strategy session. During this call we will: