How Should I Prepare for my First Court Date?

Shawn Sukumar: Your lawyer can discuss with you, depending on what your case is, what’s important to do for your first court date. For most people charged with misdemeanors, which are lower-level crimes, the first court date is your arraignment. This is when the court tells you what the prosecutors have charged you with so that you can enter a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty”.

In those situations, a defendant doesn’t have to do much for a first court date aside from hiring a lawyer and having that lawyer present with you. Your lawyer will take care of essential tasks such as preparing necessary filings for the court and prosecutor. However, if you or someone you know is being charged with a felony, an initial court appearance could determine whether you are held in jail or released while your case is pending. You should discuss with your lawyer your work, school, and living situation, as well as any important medical information. Your Washington DC criminal defense lawyer can make preparations, depending on your situation, if there’s anything else that needs to be done.