When can a lawyer represent you without you being physically in court?

This question is one of the frequently asked ones when a person is charged with a legal case. However, the answer varies according to the case charged against a person. Some legal cases strictly require defendants to appear in court, and there are ones that a lawyer can represent on their behalf without them physically being there.

It’s crucial that you have knowledge about this legal topic as failure to attend in court when required by the judge have legal consequences. So, here are the types of cases that a judge will need you to be present in court and the ones that your lawyer can appear for you.

Felony cases

Felony charges put forward against a person will require him/her to attend in all stages of the case such as in the arraignment, plea, preliminary hearing, trial, and the passing of judgment.  

The reason why the court is so strict regarding court appearances when handling felony cases is that bail is frequently an issue in such cases. The judge’s decisions might lead to his/her demanding a bail, or increasing it if the bail was already posted.

However, an exception to the rule is present in felony cases. An accused person can have a lawyer appear for him/her only when the court allows him/her to complete, in open court, a written waiver of his/her right to be physically present.

Misdemeanor cases

A misdemeanor case against a defendant can allow him/her to have a lawyer represent on his/her behalf even if he/she is not physically present in court. However, it’s crucial to know these exceptions.

Driving under the influence or DUI

The court can “sometimes” allow a person accused of DUI not to attend a proceeding of his/her case. However, most of the time, the court requires the defendant to participate in the arraignment, plea, and sentencing.

It’s also crucial for persons charged with DUI to retain the lawyer whom the judge is familiar with. If there is an issue about the application not to attend the proceedings, it’s advisable that the defendant participates in it. As I mentioned, failure to attend can lead to legal consequences.

Domestic violence

An accused person in a domestic violence case must appear at the arraignment and sentencing stages. It’s because, in these stages of such a legal matter, the court issues a protective order, and the accused person must be present to be informed of the conditions of that order. So non-appearance is not allowed in domestic violence cases.

Violation of a protective order

The same with legal cases concerning domestic violence, an accused person charged with a violation of a protective order also needs to attend the arraignment and sentencing stages because of the protective order issue.


With regards to entering an appeal on behalf of their clients, most judges allow lawyers to do that legal action without the defendant’s presence in court. However, lawyers need to submit a Tahl Waiver which they have discussed with their client.

The submission of this waiver is necessary to make sure that the defendant understood the consequences of the offer and their rights to a trial. However, some judges don’t accept such waiver and will require the accused person to attend the plea proceedings.

As such, it’s crucial to hire a legal counsel that is familiar with the judge handling the case before entering the plea. You can reach out to lawyers in sites like Attorneys On Demand for that purpose.


It’s essential that an accused person is familiar with the case charged against you. You should consult with a lawyer to assist you through the legal proceedings.

If you’re busy to appear in court, there are cases that the court will allow a non-appearance of the defendant with your lawyer representing on your behalf. This article will provide with knowledge about this legal topic.


This article is about court and legal cases in the US (not Australia). The views expressed on this page by the author it’s their own, not those of Best in Australia, and it shouldn’t be considered as advice.

Phoebe Jones
Phoebe Jones
Phoebe Jones is a writer by passion. She usually writes about exciting and fresh topics about Melbourne kitchens and bathrooms which are helpful to her readers. She shares useful tips and advice in her articles. On her free time, Phoebe loves listening to classical music and relaxing at home.
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