You have a full-time job. You are a full-time caretaker. Perhaps have some other responsibility. “Do I have to go to court?” is a question that is commonly asked by our clients. The answer, as with many questions, is “it depends”. Sometimes, your first court hearing in a criminal matter (after preliminary and bond hearings) will be an arraignment court hearing. In an arraignment hearing, some jurisdictions, such as Rockdale County State Court and Rockdale County Superior court, allow your attorney to file an arraignment. The waiver of arraignment excuses you, the client, meaning you do not have to go to court for that particular matter. However, this is a decision made by you and your attorney, and sometimes it is not available. For example, family violence charges often have a mandatory arraignment calendar. You MUST consult with your attorney to see if your first arraignment hearing can be waived because there are courts that want you to go to court and will not waive the arraignment.
Case Analysis Prior to Court
With our clients, we do a thorough analysis of the case prior to the first court hearing. We usually conduct a full investigation that includes obtaining reports, and sometimes video and other evidence the police may have on file to use against you.
Not Guilty Plea
With our clients, we know that our client has a defense and is declaring himself “not guilty”. This is because we are fighting for their case. We do a legal analysis first. If we find it beneficial to the client, and the client has a pressing reason why they cannot go to court, we explore options. Doing a waiver of arraignment and/or not guilty plea (when available) allows our client to not have to go to court once. We can explore the option of waiving the arraignment where the Court allows it. This allows our client to not have to go to that first arraignment court hearing, saving time for the client.
Consult with an Attorney for your particular case. You may or may not have to go to your first court hearing.
Every case is different, but you can consult with your attorney to explore all your options. There are many other case-specific scenarios that may apply to you. Even if you do have to attend your first court hearing, it is best to go to court with an attorney representing you. Give yourself the peace of mind of taking a dedicated legal professional by your side to fight your case and find the legal questions, like Do I have to go to court on my court date?