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Criminal Defense 101 – Do I Need To Appear In Person If You Represent Me?






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Feb 25, 2011

Criminal Defense 101 – Do I Need To Appear In Person If You Represent Me?

The most common question asked by my out of state clients is, “Do I need to appear in person if you represent me?” If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor, which is a Class D or E crime — it could be an assault, it could be a drunk driving charge, it could be a theft, (these are the more minor crimes) — the answer to that question is no, you do not need to appear if you retain me as your attorney.

Once you retain me, my office will file all the necessary paperwork on your behalf in the case. We will conduct discovery which is getting the police reports and witness statements, any video evidence that may be in the case, and we will handle the case for you. You will not need to attend the arraignment. We will be there for you and we will plead you not guilty. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may never need to appear in court again. That’s very important for folks who live on the West Coast; in California, Washington, Oregon because obviously it could be very expensive flying back and forth for all those court dates.

So again, if you’ve been charged with a crime in the State of Maine and that crime is a misdemeanor, you will not be required to attend your arraignment and for the most part, you may not even have to come back to Maine to attend court because we can handle your case, for the most part, without you being present. Of course, there are exceptions to that general rule. For instance, if the case had to go to trial you would be required to appear. If we had a testimonial hearing where your presence was crucial to the outcome of the case, you would need to be there. If the case required that you spend a period of time incarcerated you would need to be there if you ultimately were to plead guilty to the charges. But again, most cases can be handled without you ever needing to appear back in the State of Maine. And for most folks, that’s a big relief since the last time they visited, they were arrested.



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