First Appearance Hearings (Bond Hearings)

Time & Location

Magistrate Court holds first appearance hearings Monday through Saturday and on holidays. As of March 20, 2020, felony first appearance hearings are held at 11:30 a.m. and misdemeanor first appearance hearings are held at 2:00 p.m. Both are held remotely. The jail provides those detained access to computers and attorneys in order to participate in the hearing and the Court provides viewing rooms available to the public at the Fulton County Courthouse, 185 Central Ave. SW, Atlanta, GA 30303. 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 an arrested person 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 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.

Attendance at Hearing

All court hearings are open to the public. Please remember that the courthouse is a secured facility with certain regulations about what you may and may not carry inside. Please check the website to confirm the courtroom location for the virtual hearing viewing room. You may also search for an inmate at Virtual hearing links for First Appearance are for court participants only (attorneys, clerks, victims, and witnesses). Private attorneys should email to request the virtual zoom hearing information.