What to Do When You Get a Court Date Notice

Understanding Your Notice of Hearing in Atlanta & Throughout Georgia

When the police arrest a suspect, jail is generally the next stop. After, the accused will either:

  • Get released
  • Post bail to get bonded out of jail immediately
  • Stay in jail until their first appearance
  • Stay in jail until they appear before a judge who has authority to set bond (depending on the county, this can take months)

The prosecution has little time — usually, a maximum of 72 hours — to present basic charges for the accused person’s first appearance. In most cases, this includes a uniform citation form to present to the court. At the first appearance, sometimes called the initial hearing, arraignment or a local term, the judge will read the initial charges to the defendant and, if they have proper jurisdiction, decide whether to grant or set a bond amount that can be posted as bail.

Steps to Success

In many cases, the defendant does not get bond and will remain in police custody until a future proceeding. The judge will also appoint an attorney at the first appearance if the defendant does not have or cannot afford one. Nonetheless, defendants are advised to follow the steps below to best achieve a favorable outcome in their criminal case:

Hire an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer: The first step after your release is to retain an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and ensure your case is as successful as possible. This is highly important if no bond was set at your first appearance, as a private attorney can speed up the process and force the court to address your bond faster than the calendar that everyone else is scheduled on.

It may seem obvious to hire a lawyer, but many defendants do not believe their charges are “beatable” or that it’s “too late” to hire legal representation. Our Atlanta criminal defense attorney has seen the damage that can ensue from not having adequate representation at the very beginning of a case. It’s not worth it to handle a court date notice alone.

Remember, a court date notice does not mean a conviction, therefore it is imperative to retain legal protection from an experienced Atlanta criminal defense lawyer at the very beginning. When you do, you will receive legal counsel and guidance to help you learn about your case’s progress and what your next steps are, including how to inform certain people about your charges and court date notice.

Respond to the court date notice: The notice of hearing will typically state how long a defendant has to respond to the notice. It includes instructions on how to respond, which usually includes filling out a form and mailing, faxing or submitting it. It’s important to have your Atlanta criminal defense lawyer review your court date notice to ensure all the information and details regarding your arrest are accurate before you respond. They will either respond on your behalf or instruct you on the best method of responding to your notice.

Inform potential witnesses: Defendants need to alert people who might play a significant role in the case of their criminal charges and court date notices. Witnesses play a key role in defendants’ cases, as their testimonies could influence the final verdict. Thus, when you receive your court date notice, you should inform possible witnesses who can testify in support of your innocence. Your attorney will help you identify witnesses and offer advice on how to best discuss this sensitive matter with them.

Be aware that the prosecution will do everything in its power to compile lots of evidence against you, including using your own witnesses’ testimonies against you. You should be very cautious about who you choose to take the witness stand on your behalf, as you could make your situation worse if you don’t choose wisely.

Compile evidence: With the help of their Atlanta criminal defense attorney, a defendant can gather evidence to strengthen their case to prepare for the court date hearing, such as:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Documents
  • Emails
  • Call logs
  • Receipts
  • Social media posts
  • Medical bills/doctor’s notes
  • Objects
  • Licenses/certifications

Change passwords: A defendant’s bank, email, work and social media accounts may be vulnerable to hacking. The “victim” of the alleged offense may make matters worse for the defendant by changing or posting information to frame them as guilty. The victim may have connections to people who can hurt the defendant’s case, which is the last thing needed in a criminal case.

As such, our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys advise you to change your passwords to every account you own to best avoid an added headache to your plate. Criminal charges are enough as it is, therefore preventing incriminating actions — even ones you didn’t commit — by changing your passwords could make all the difference in your case.

Be confident: As mentioned earlier, a court date notice does not equate to a criminal conviction. Far too often, defendants adopt a “guilty” mindset before they even go to their hearing, which could be enough to convince the judge, jury and prosecution of such a verdict.

By law, you are innocent until proven guilty, and our Atlanta criminal defense lawyers encourage you to perceive yourself as such. We can help instill hope that a favorable outcome is possible in your case by providing dedicated advocacy, honest counsel and aggressive defense on your behalf. You are not alone with ChancoSchiffer Law, LLC in your corner.

I Got a Notice of Hearing and Don’t Have a Lawyer. What Do I Do?

The answer is easy! Pick up the phone and call (404) 471-3999 for a free assessment of your case with ChancoSchiffer Law, LLC. Our trial-seasoned former government lawyer personally reviews every single case that comes our way. From there, they summarize the matter, provide you a potential pathway to follow, address costs and inform you of the timeframes you are looking at.

The fact is that the sooner our Atlanta criminal defense attorney can begin constructing your defense, the better your results can be. Prosecutors decide how much time they can dedicate to each of their cases, so a defendant who is deeply prepared with aggressive defense in their corner will more likely discourage the State to spend time prosecuting them. Prosecutors like the easy cases. As such, hiring a lawyer at the start shows the State that you will fight for your rights, stand up for what’s fair and be ready to make them work.

Your advantage starts as soon as you secure skilled legal defense upon receiving your notice of hearing. We can assist you with changing and moving court dates, fixing potential problems on the front end, and save you exposure to the criminal court system.

To get started, contact us today!