Back again to posting about my experience as a Raleigh DWI Lawyer and Raleigh Criminal Attorney. Today I found myself in a familiar, if not uncomfortable position. I was in court this A.M. for a court-appointed client. I waited one and a half hours for him to arrive, which he never did. I made a motion to continue the case, however the Judge denied my motion and issued an Order for Arrest. The Judge may have been willing to grant my motion had my client gotten in touch with me before his court date to let me know WHY he was unable to attend today. As it was, I had to admit to the Judge that I have had no contact with this client and could offer no explanation for his absence. To add insult to injury (which I obviously didn’t share with the Judge) this client was over an hour late to his previous court date.
I realize coming to court is a big inconvenience. It’s schedule during the week, when most people are working. To take time out of your work/life and come sit in a boring courtroom is nobody’s idea of fun. But, regardless of how inconvenient it may be, it is still a REQUIREMENT that you attend. This is your court date, and your appearance is mandatory for most North Carolina Criminal Charges.
If, for some reason, you are unable to attend, it is imperative that you contact your Attorney BEFORE your court date so they may have a chance of getting the case continued without you present. Otherwise, you need to be seated in court, on time.
Something to consider, other then having an Order for Arrest being issued against you, is what your Failure to Appear in court can mean for your case. Your Shuck (the envelope which contains all the paperwork about your case) will be marked that you missed your court date. This is something that District Attorneys AND Judge’s look at. They pay particular attention to it when being asked for a lenient plea or sentence for that individual’s case. The court’s position is, everyone else who is required to be there for your case was present, so why weren’t you?