The first court appearance is not a trial. For the most part, the judges are seeking to determine whether or not a defendant has secured legal counsel. Sometimes, that is all that happens, and the case is reset for a later date for the lawyers to talk and the discovery process to take place.
There are occasions, depending on the charge, when the judges want to hear a summary of the allegations against the defendant. Some judges do, some don’t.
Every judge has their own procedures they follow.
Also, there may be some discussion between the lawyers and the judge as to whether any additional bond conditions will need to be put into place. Examples of this could be the requirement of an electronic monitor or the requirement for a “blow and go” device put on a person’s car.
There is no need for a defendant to be concerned that they will need to defend themselves on the charge or to provide testimony for the first appearance. In Harris County, in particular, a defendant is not required to say whether they are guilty or not guilty on the first court appearance.
Finally remember, one of the reasons to have a lawyer, is that the attorney does the talking for you. If you attend your first court appearance without an experienced criminal defense attorney, it is advisable not to discuss the facts of the case, even if you feel it is a good idea.See All Questions