The answer depends on the type of crime you were charged with, the court where you were ordered to appear, and whether your lawyer is able to waive your appearance or appear without you.
If you have been charged with a criminal or traffic offense, there are likely many questions and things rushing through your head. Whether you have been through the process before, or have been charged for the first time, these situations are stressful and full of unknowns. Typically, most people do not know where to begin.
A common first question that our criminal lawyers get is whether you must show up for your arraignment or initial appearance. A lot of factors go into that answer and it is something you must discuss with your attorney. The biggest factor of whether or not someone must show up for their arraignment is the type of charge or charges.
Typically, offenses of violence or serious traffic offenses require that the individual charged show up at arraignment, even if that person has an attorney. Common mandatory appearance charges include assault (Ohio Revised Code §2903.13), domestic violence (Ohio Revised Code §2919.25), aggravated menacing (Ohio Revised Code §2903.21) and driving under the influence (Ohio Revised Code §4511.19). If you are charged with a felony offense, it is notable that all felony level charges require an accused’s appearance at arraignment.
If your charged offense is not an offense of violence or a serious traffic offense, it is likely that your attorney can waive your appearance at arraignment. In every case, your counsel will file initial pleadings with the court. Your lawyer will file a notice of appearance, notifying the court that you are now represented by counsel and that the attorney will be at every court appearance. Often with these initial filings, routine filings like a demand for discovery is also filed. A demand for discovery requires the prosecutor to provide any and all evidence against you so that you and your attorney can evaluate the evidence and best choose your plan of attack. It also requires that the prosecutor provide any exculpatory evidence in their possession – evidence that shows innocence. In cases where defendants do not appear, your lawyer will file a written not guilty plea. This is the document that automatically enters a not guilty plea on your behalf and waives your appearance in court, allowing you not to attend. All these court filings are crucial at the start of a case, and it will be the first thing that your attorney does upon being hired.
Please call us for a free consultation. We do not accept every case, but promise to work hard for every person we agree to represent.