Magistrate Court holds first appearance hearings Monday through Saturday and holidays. During the week, misdemeanor first appearance hearings are held 9:00 a.m. at the Fulton County Jail, 901 Rice Street, Atlanta, GA 30318. Felony first appearance hearings are held 11:00 a.m. at the Fulton County Jail, 901 Rice Street, Atlanta, GA 30318. On weekends, felony and misdemeanor first appearance hearings are held at 11:00 a.m. at the Rice Street Jail. On county holidays, first appearance hearings are held at the Fulton County jail at a time set by the judge holding the hearing. Contact the jail at 404-613-2000 to obtain hearing times on holidays.
Purpose of Hearing
The purpose of a first appearance hearing is to notify arrested persons of the charge(s) being brought against them. Also, the judge will consider bail and whether to impose any conditions of release. If the judge is not authorized to set bail or declines to set bail, the defendant will be notified. The defendant will be provided information regarding the right to legal representation and how to apply for the assistance of appointed counsel if financially unable to hire an attorney.
First Appearance Hearing is Not a Hearing on the Merits of the Case
The first appearance hearing is not a commitment hearing / preliminary hearing or trial on the merits of the charges. The judge will not consider dismissal of any of the charges at this hearing. The defendant will not be asked any questions about the facts of the case.