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What is a Mandatory Court Appearance?


Out of the 84.2 million cases that wind up in state court each year, not all of them will require the offender to show up for a hearing. Most people can simply put a check in an envelope before they mail it off to the county courthouse to pay for their fine. These are usually the less serious offenses such as minor speeding or switching lanes without a turn signal. However, there are other offenses that might require a little more effort to clear your name.

Take a close look at the bottom of your ticket to see if it says that you must appear. It could be phrased in a number of ways, including “appearance mandatory” or “you must show up in court.” Regardless of what phrasing your county uses, it all boils down to the same thing. You have a mandatory court appearance where a judge will consider the offense you committed in relation to the proposed consequence.

What is a mandatory court appearance?

There are two types of mandatory court appearances that you might be faced with depending on your crime. For felonies and some serious misdemeanors, you will be required to be present for the hearing. Serious misdemeanors that usually require your presence at the hearing can include domestic violence charges, violations of a protective order, or driving under the influence. Keep in mind that a judge always reserves the right to require you to appear in court, even if your misdemeanor does not typically require your presence.

In the second type of mandatory court appearance, your attorney might be able to attend on your behalf. They can argue for you to receive a lesser sentence based on the case presented to them without the need for you to be present.

If you are unsure whether you need to be present, it is always advised to come to the hearing. You should plan to show up in professional attire with your attorney to hear the case made against you. Be prompt and courteous during your time in the courtroom. This is your best opportunity to persuade a judge to issue you a lesser sentence or to drop the case altogether. Failure to show up in court when you are supposed to could result in an arrest warrant.

Do I need an attorney for a mandatory court appearance?

It is always going to be in your best interest to obtain an attorney for any mandatory court appearances you might have. You won’t be able to learn everything you need to know about the law from a textbook in the weeks or months leading up to your court appearance. While you do have the right to self-representation, it is advised that you hire an attorney to give you the best odds of success.

If you don’t know any attorneys, you can contact Attorneys on Demand. We will help you to find the right associate to attend a hearing either with or without you. They will have the expertise you need to face the courtroom with confidence. Give us a call today if you have an upcoming court hearing where you might need representation!