If you have been charged with a crime, and your initial hearing is fast approaching, you may understandably be a little anxious or worried. What do you do? What should you expect? These are questions I get all the time as a criminal defense attorney, and I would like to walk you through what to expect at your first initial hearing.

The main purpose of the initial hearing is to make sure that you are fully informed of and understand the charges being brought against you, and for the court to communicate the range and possible penalties you could be facing. You will also be entering your initial plea at this first hearing. In most cases, certainly in Indiana, that initial plea is going to be entered for you by the judge, and it will be a plea of not guilty. You and your attorney can always change that not guilty plea later in the process.

The court will want to confirm that your name and date of birth are correct, that you have a copy of the charging information, and that you get a copy of the probable cause affidavit. The court will then inquire whether you plan to retain private counsel, or if the court should consider appointing public counsel at the state’s expense. Typically, these hearings are very short, and most are done in five minutes or less. Most likely the court will then set the date for the next hearing, which is called a pre-trial conference. If you notify the court that you are going to hire counsel, they will expect your counsel to enter an appearance and be present with you at the next hearing.

That is essentially everything you can expect from your initial hearing! My name is Corey Scott, and if I can be of any further assistance, please reach out to me. I will be more than happy to help.