First Setting Case Information

A very common question from those I represent is "what's going to happen at our first court setting/appearance" for my case? While it's hard to answer this question without knowing the specifics of a case, generally speaking, most likely not a whole lot will occur. Unless there is some underlying exception, the Defendant will not have to "go before the judge", and/or will not have to plead "Guilty" or "Not Guilty" to the case. It is actually more like a routine line-up call by the court to ensure the Defendant intends to handle the case appropriately.  

The first setting is generally known as an "Appearance" in most courts in Texas. While some courts may refer to a first setting in a different manner, what generally occurs is usually the same regardless. Our office will most likely have already filed a "letter of representation" with the District or County Clerk's Office.  This puts us down as your "Attorney of Record" and informs the court you have selected counsel. If for some reason this has not been done, which is not altogether that uncommon, we will notify the court at the first setting that our office will be representing you, and that all future correspondence by any party involved, including (and especially) from anyone associated with the District Attorney's Office, will have to communicate through our office, as your legal counsel.  In some situations, depending on the court, it may give us an opportunity to discuss the overall aspects of your case with the prosecutors assigned to the matter.  

In other words, the first court appearance is part of the overall information gathering process. It's simply our first chance to begin gathering the discovery related to your case, which usually includes any police reports, videos, possible 911 witness calls, and/or anything else the State may have in their possession as evidence. In some counties, your appearance will not be required until there is a "dispositive" setting, which is either a "plea" or a "trial" setting.

In most cases, you will simply check in with the bailiff proving you haven't fled the country, and that you intend to handle the case and always show up for court when required. Some courts have a "docket call" where the judge (or a bailiff) may verball call out the list of names for those cases scheduled that day. If your appearance is required, we will try and get you in and out as quickly as possible. We realize our clients most likely have better things to do than wait around and sit in court, especially if an Attorney is going to be doing most of the work. We make it our goal, unless it has been set for a disposition (such as a "plea" or a "trial"), to get our clients in and out of the courthouse within an hour. Usually, your case will be reset, or passed, for about a month for either another appearance, a plea, or for a trial. It is common for people to think that the first court appearance is when the trial will occur. To be clear, there is never a trial on the first court appearance. It is just a part of the overall case process, and there is nothing to be afraid of, and absolutelu nothing to fear. To read more about the overall criminal case process in Texas, please read here.

Contact Carl David Ceder

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Carl David Ceder is an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney and Personal Injury Trial Lawyer who practices all over the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, including Dallas County, Collin County, Denton County, Tarrant County, Ellis County, Rockwall County, Kaufman County, and all adjoining counties:

  • Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney - Dallas, Highland Park, University Park, Addison, Cedar Hill, Carrollton, Cockrell Hill, Coppell, DeSoto, Duncanville, Garland, Grand Prairie, Grapevine, Irving, Lancaster, Lewisville, Mesquite, Richardson, Seagoville, Wilmer, Wylie
  • Collin County Criminal Defense Attorney - Plano, McKinney, Frisco, Carrollton, Celina, Dallas, Fairview, Garland, Lucas, Melissa, Murphy, Nevada, New Hope, Prosper, Richardson, St. Paul, Westminster, Weston, Wylie
  • Denton County Criminal Defense Attorney - Dallas, Argyle, Aubrey, Bartonville, Carrollton, Coppell, Corinth, Denton, Flower Mound, Fort Worth, Hebron, Highland Village, Justin, Lake Dallas, Lakewood Village, Lewisville, Northlake, Plano, Prosper, Southlake, The Colony, Westlake
  • Tarrant County Criminal Defense Attorney - Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Arlington, Bedford, Burleson, Colleyville, Crowley, Euless, Everman, Flower Mound, Grapevine, Grand Prairie, Hurst, Lakeside, Mansfield, North Richland Hills, River Oaks, Saginaw, Westlake
  • Rockwall County Criminal Defense Attorney - Dallas, Fate, Heath, Mobile City, McLendon-Chisholm, Rockwall, Rowlett, Royse City, Wylie
  • Ellis County Criminal Defense Attorney - Bardwell, Cedar Hill, Ennis, Ferris, Grand Prairie, Glenn Heights, Mansfield, Maypearl, Midlothian, Ovilla, Pecan Hill, Red Oak, Waxahachie
  • Kaufman County Criminal Defense Attorney - Ables Springs, Combine, Cottonwood, Crandall, Dallas, Elmo, Forney, Grays Prairie, Kaufman, Kemp, Mabank, Mesquite, Oak Grove, Oak Ridge Poetry, Post Oak, Bend City, Rosser Scurry, Seagoville, Seven Points, Talty, Terrell

Areas of Practice


Criminal Defense
  • All Criminal Defense Cases
  • Federal Charges
  • Juvenile Cases
  • Expunctions
  • Motions for Non-Disclosure
  • Motions to Revoke Probation
  • Federal Charges
  • Weapon Charges
  • Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon
  • Criminal Trespass
  • Terroristic Threat
  • Failure to Identify
  • Credit Card Abuse
  • Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Evading
  • Theft
  • Shoplifting
  • Burglarly
  • Robbery
  • Murder
Personal Injury
  • All Personal Injury Claims
  • Car
  • Truck Accidents
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Wrongful Death
  • Slip & Fall Claims
  • Premises Liability
  • Products Liability
  • Vehicle Defects
  • Medical Malpractice Claims
  • Day-Care Liability
  • Nurshing Home Negligence
  • All DWI Charges
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) 2nd or More
  • Driving While Intoxicated with Child Passenger
  • Intoxication Assault
  • Intoxication Manslaughter
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Occupational Driving Licenses
  • Administrative License Revocation Hearings (ALR's)
  • Driving While License Invalid
  • Public Intoxication
  • Minor in Possession of Alcohol
Drug Charges
  • All Drug Charges
  • Possession of Marijuana
  • Felony Drug Charges
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Delivery of a Controlled Substance
  • Drug Manufacture/Sales
  • Trafficking
  • Importation
  • Cultivation
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamines
  • Prescription Drug Charges
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Possession of Manufacturing Equipment
Assault Charges
  • All Assault Charges
  • Assault Bodily Injury
  • Domestic Violence
  • Assault & Family Violence
  • Protective Order Hearings
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
  • Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Involuntary Manslaughter
White Collar Crime
  • All White Collar Crimes
  • Fraud
  • Mortgage Fraud
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Bank Fraud
  • Computer Fraud
  • Bribery
  • Embezzlement
  • Extortion
  • Money Laundering
  • Insider Trading
  • Securities Trading
  • Misapplying Property
  • Counterfeiting
  • Racketeering
  • Tax Evasion
Sex Offenses
  • All Sexual Offenses
  • Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Assault of a Child
  • Rape
  • Statutory Rape
  • Indecency with a Child
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Lewd Conduct
  • Prostitution
  • Solicitation of a Prostitute
  • Child Ponography
  • Solicitation of a Minor
Family Law
  • Divorces
  • Child Support
  • Child Custody
  • Modifications
  • Adoptions
  • Orders of Protection


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