Can My Attorney Appear In Court For Me?
There are many reasons why you may not want to appear in court. For most people, if this is their first experience with the criminal justice system there is a level of fear or discomfort as well as the embarrassment of the possibility of being seen by friends or business associates or clients who could hold this against you. Therefore, if you are charged with a misdemeanor and not a felony your attorney can appear for you at all stages of the proceedings except if there is a decision to go to trial. Obviously, if there is a trial you will want to be present and to be seen by the court and jury.
However, for most misdemeanor cases with the exception of domestic violence charges, you and your attorney will fill out a consent form to be filed with the court that is an agreement allowing your attorney to appear for you at all stages of the court proceeding. In addition, the court will also require that you sign a promise to appear which is an agreement between you and the court that bail is not required.
Should you reach a plea bargain with the court a written waiver of your rights will be accepted by the court and your plea can be entered for you by your attorney. Some courts require that form to be notarized. This procedure is used by clients and attorneys in cases where the client is an out of state resident and a court appearance would be physically or economically not possible.