Is it possible for me to hire a lawyer to represent me in court without me having to be present?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it possible for me to hire a lawyer to represent me in court without me having to be present?

I’m in the military, stationed at Ft. Riley, KS. I got a misdemeanor citation

for having fireworks and I’m leaving back to KS.

Asked on July 5, 2018 under Criminal Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, while a lawyer could make a motion to dismiss the case or suppress evidence without you (assuming there is grounds to do so) or engage in negotiations (e.g. over a plea) without you, if the case goes to trial you would need to be present to testify: your attorney cannot testify for you, and the rules of evidenc require live testimony, not merely something in writing from you. You would also need to be present to accept a plea deal in most cases (a court *could* allow you to take the plea by "affidavit" or in writing, but most will not--it is up to the court's discretion whether to allow this).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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