What is an initial appearance?
After an arrest, a person charged with a crime must be brought before a judge within 24 hours for an initial appearance. At the initial appearance, the defendant is informed of the right to counsel, and counsel is appointed if the defendant cannot afford counsel and if the charge is serious enough. The judge makes a determination if there is probable cause for the charge. Bond is then set, usually based on a preset bond schedule prepared by the Iowa Supreme Court. The defendant may qualify for a release program that does not require a bond, and the judge may authorize the release at that time. The defendant is then informed of the right to a preliminary hearing.