Attending Court for a Criminal Charge

Many people – for whatever reason – do not attend their Court dates during criminal proceedings. In these instances, the Judge usually issues a warrant for the absent person’s arrest. In certain circumstances, an Accused must personally attend Court, and in others, the Accused can have someone, such as a lawyer or family member, appear for him or her.

In summary conviction proceedings, an Accused does not need to attend docket Court appearances in person. Instead, he or she can have a lawyer or another person appear to advise the Court what the Accused wishes to do. In indictable proceedings, an Accused must appear in docket Court in person. A lawyer can appear on an indictable matter without the Accused being present, but a document called a Designation of Counsel must be filed with the Court first. One can find out if criminal charges are proceeding summarily or by indictment by asking the Court Clerk.

An Accused must always appear in person for his or her trial, and an Accused is also expected to attend Court to enter a guilty plea and to be sentenced.

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