Depending upon the jurisdiction and whether your case is in Maryland State Circuit or District court, District of Columbia Superior Court or Federal Court, there are a number of different types of court appearances which will occur.
In all cases, there will be an arraignment or an initial appearance, where you will be informed of the charges against you, advised of your legal rights and warned to get an attorney as soon as possible.
Many courts next schedule a status or scheduling conference. These court hearings are very short but important in the big picture. You should always be present at your status or scheduling conference on time, dressed for court and conduct yourself in an appropriately respectful manner.
The next court appearance will be a motions hearing date where all pretrial motions are heard and resolved. These motions might include Motions to Suppress Evidence on 4th Amendment grounds, Motions to Suppress Statements, Motions to Dismiss, etc. At Houlon Berman we pride ourselves in preparing professional, detailed and powerful written memorandum in support of such motions. Advanced preparation is the key to winning motions. A winning motion can often end the case.
A trial date is next scheduled. In Maryland, you have the right to elect a jury or court trial. In the District of Columbia and Federal Courts, both parties must agree to a Court trial. These options will be discussed with you and the final decision as to how to proceed will be yours.