The legal process can be confusing. You may not understand everything that happens or all the rules of the criminal justice system, especially if this is your first time going to court.
One of the things you may wonder about is when you need to be present in court. Sometimes, you may not have to be there, but other times, your presence is mandatory. To avoid issues, you should be clear on what the judge wants.
Out on bond
After your arrest, you may get out of jail on bond. If this happens, you must promise that you will go to all court proceedings. If you fail to show up in court, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest, and you will usually not be able to get back out of jail until your court case is over. So, if you are out on bail, you should go to every court hearing unless you hear directly from the judge that you do not have to show up.
You will need to be in court for all pretrial events. Only the judge can say that you do not need to come to court for any of the times your case is before the bench prior to going to trial.
The trial and after the trial
For proceedings during your trial, you also need to be present. These include very important events, such as choosing the jury and arguing your case. In addition, you need to be there for the verdict and sentencing phases. However, you do have the right to state on the record that you waive your right to be present during the trial. The judge can also kick you out of the courtroom if you have disruptive behavior. The one time you do not have to show up even without a waiver is during sentence reduction hearings.
Most of the time your case is in court, you also need to be in court. It is important and part of your civil rights to be a part of the process.