When you get charged with a crime, a judge determines what your punishment will be. Whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony offense, your case will be brought before the judge who will decide whether or not to be lenient and give you the minimum punishment or levy the heaviest punishment allowable. The judge gets to decide whether you receive probation, jail time, a fine, or if the case will be dismissed and you walk away with no repercussions.
Most would assume that when your case goes before a judge, you would have to be present. However, that isn’t necessarily the case. According to California Penal Code 9(a), there are certain times when the defendant does not have to appear before a judge. Instead, an attorney can appear in place of the defendant. This does not apply to every situation, so it is important to know when this code applies to you. Here are three things you should know about Penal Code 977(a).
Penal Code 977(a) applies to most, but not all, misdemeanors. However, if you are being charged with a felony offense, your attorney cannot appear in your place. It is still a good idea to have your attorney with you, but you will have to appear before the judge for your arraignment and plea, as well as the preliminary hearing and sentencing. If you are facing a trial and there is evidence or testimony being presented before a jury, you are required to be there for that portion of the process as well.
Domestic Abuse and DUI’s
There are exceptions to every rule, and Penal Code 977(a) has two. If the misdemeanor is related to domestic abuse, then you will still need to be present for the arraignment and sentencing. In addition, if a protective order is issued, the defendant must be present for that as well.
In DUI cases, the defendant may be required to appear before the court at any or all of the following: the arraignment, the plea, and sentencing. This depends on the judge and the case.
Get An Experienced Lawyer
When facing a misdemeanor charge where you may or may not need to appear before the judge, you will have to rely heavily on your attorney. Experienced attorneys know which judges will likely require defendants to appear and which ones won’t. That’s why it is so important to have an attorney that you can trust.
At the Kia Law Firm, we have experience in criminal law and we now the personalties and tendencies of the judges in the Oklahoma City area. We can help walk through the process and advise you when you need to appear and when we can take care of the process for you. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call (855) 662-2723 today.