Being summoned to appear in court can leave you petrified. The intimidation that comes with standing before a judge and the pressure to prepare your case are amongst some of the reason that those who are asked to appear in court are often left panicking when it comes to preparing. Some people aren’t too keen on appearing, so they often consider just having their personal injury attorney appear for them, but how do you know if it is necessary for you to appear? Well, it all depends on the charge or case. Here are some of the times you should appear in court and personal injury attorney might be able to appear for you.
What is the Charge or Case?
As stated before, your appearance depends on the severity of the case:
DUI Charges- DUI cases are tricky, because there are times where the court may require the defendant to appear, and other times where it is not necessary. It’s always best to show up if you’re not certain, because not showing up when you’re supposed to can result in a bench warrant.
A bench warrant is a written order issued by a judge authorizing the arrest of a person charged with some contempt, crime, or misdemeanor.
Pleas – In most plea cases, a judge may allow a personal injury attorney to appear for their clients. However, the attorney will have to submit a certified Tahl Waiver that has been reviewed with their client. This waiver helps the client understand the offer, consequences and their constitutional rights to a trial. There are some cases where a judge may not allow a Tahl waiver, requiring the defendant to show up to the plea.
It’s important to consult with your personal injury attorney if you have any questions on whether you’ll be required to be present at the plea or not.
Domestic Violence Cases – In any case where the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor, he or she must always appear in court for the arraignment stage and the sentencing stage. The reason for this is that in most cases, a protective order is served, and the defendant will need to personally serve the order and be informed of the conditions on the order.
In the event of a violation of a protective order, a defendant must also always be present at both the arraignment and sentencing stages.
A Defendant Must Always be Present in a Felony Case
If the defendant is charged with a felony, he or she must be present for the arraignment, plea, preliminary hearing, parts of a trial and the sentencing. Always. The main reason is that in a felony case, bail is a major issue and the court may ask for bail or increase the bail if it has already been posted.
While rare, there is one exception in which a defendant can avoid presenting themselves at court. The defendant can have a personal attorney appear for him or her in court if the judge allows the defendant to complete, in open court, a written waiver of his or her right to be present.
In all, appearance depends on the case. If you aren’t sure, always consult with your personal injury attorney about whether or not you need to be present in court. Contact us at Robert J. DeBry and Associates if you have any questions, we are available 24/7 for your legal needs.