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If accused of a crime and it goes to trial, does the accused have to attend if they are represented by an attorney? Thanks.

New York, NY |
Filed under: Criminal defense


Attorney Answers 4



This answer is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended as the practice of law in any jurisdiction in which I am not licensed. The answer does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The answer is based only on the information provided, and may be inaccurate in the context of additional facts that have not been provided. The questioner should be aware that I am only licensed to practice law in the state and federal courts of Minnesota. Accordingly, before taking any action or refraining from taking any action, the questioner should consult with an attorney licensed to practice in his or her jurisdiction.

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An accused has the right to attend and it is recommended, but they can't be forced to attend if they have counsel.

If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore, NY 11710 Telephone -516.512.6333 Email -

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Do they have to...technically no. They can refuse and the trial can proceed without them! They can also sentence him in absentia!

I am a criminal defense attorney practicing in Nassau, Suffolk and New York City. The above information is not a substitution for a meeting whereas all potential legal issues can be discussed.

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The accused can be tried in absentia (without their presence) but I believe that there would be a bench warrant ordered as the accused is required to be at each court appearance unless excused. This may also lead to possible bail jumping charges based on how much time passes after their non-appearance. This reads as if someone is contemplating flight based on the outcome of the trial. For that reason no judge would consent to your non-attendance. This is a very bad idea for many reasons.

Richard Southard
I am a former Deputy Bureau Chief with the Kings County DA’s Office and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, with over 15 years experience specializing in criminal law cases. I offer free in-person, phone and video consultations.

All answers are for information purposes only. Answering this question or any future questions does not form any attorney-client relationship. Be mindful, that answers are limited by the limited facts presented by the questioner and are not meant to take the place of competent legal advice by an attorney fully informed of all the facts surrounding your case. However, be aware that nothing posted in a public forum such as this can be deemed confidential or privileged communication. For a privileged private consultation, contact me at 212-385-8600 or via my website

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