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Do I have to be present to Enter a Plea in my Criminal Case?

You have been arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence and the time is fast approaching when you will have to enter your plea in the court. This can be a confusing time for many drivers, wondering does the court require they be present to enter a plea in their Chicago criminal case.

In this instance, it is always better to err on the side of caution, and speaking with your Chicago DUI attorney will allow you to get the most informed answer.

Being Present for a Misdemeanor Case
Driving under the influence (DUI) is considered a misdemeanor in the state of Illinois. Usually when a person is charged with a misdemeanor in the state of Illinois, they can have an attorney represent them and enter the plea in the court on their behalf. That being said, with the DUI, things tend to get a little tricky. Being accused of DUI in Illinois may be the one exception to this rule, because you may be afforded a non appearance, but sometimes the court does require the defendant appear before the court to make their plea.

When you have been charged with DUI in the state of Illinois, it is extremely important that you take this matter serious and retain counsel. Your DUI attorney is familiar with both the court and the judge presiding over your case and will have a better understanding about whether you must be present in the court or not. When there is doubt, in this instance it is always best to get dressed and show up. The judge might decide they wanted you in the court and will now be able to issue a bench warrant because you are not present.

Being Present for a Felony Case
When the driver is arrested for DUI and it is considered to be a felony case, then there is no reason to consult with an attorney about whether or not you need to be in the court. When accused of a felony in Chicago, the accused must be in the court to make their plea. Regardless if this is for an arraignment, preliminary hearing, plea, or sentencing, the courts require the defendant be present or a bench warrant will be issued by the judge. One reason the courts in Illinois require that the defendant be present to enter a plea in a DUI case is because bail could be an issue, the judge could ask for bail, or the judge could increase the bail that was previously posted.

Your DUI attorney understands how imperative it is that you be present during these hearings, and will put your mind at ease by explaining in detail what you need to say and what you will expect at every step of the way. Your attorney is there to make certain that everything is carried out with full accordance of the law.

Complexity of the DUI Cases
Each DUI case is different from the next, and regardless if you feel the case is being presented as a misdemeanor, you want to be in the court in case things change. New evidence might come to light in your case where a victim comes forward concerning a hit and run, and your case could become a felony. Your attorney will be on top of everything, but drivers who feel they can represent themselves run into trouble when new evidence is presented.

Showing up in court for every hearing will allow you to follow along with any changes to the case that could arise.

Still Unsure About Appearing in Court
When in doubt about being present to enter a plea in a Chicago criminal case, just show up. Showing up to court can not hurt your case, but not being in front of the judge could result in serious consequences that might negatively impact the penalty handed down. The last thing that you want is a bench warrant being handed down because you misunderstood or the online forum you checked gave you incorrect information. Don’t leave anything to chance when it comes to entering a plea, retain counsel and consult with the DUI attorney as the time approaches.

Your Chicago DUI attorney will be in the best position to tell you exactly when and where you need be present. Perhaps the judge has a question or more information is needed, it is always best to be safe than sorry in this instance.

If you are ever wondering does the court require you be present to enter a plea in your Chicago criminal case, start with asking your DUI attorney rather than friends or Google. Your attorney spends a considerable amount of time in that court, understands the needs of each judge, and is informed about all the complexities concerning these type cases in Illinois.