Presence of Defendant

Presence of Defendant, Defendant Lawyers, Defense Lawyers 32811, Lawyers in 32811

When is the presence of Defendant necessary?

  • According to Rule 3.180, there are specific instances where a Defendant’s presence is required. Specifically, Rule 3.180 states that the Defendant shall be present as follows:
    • “At 1st Appearance
    • When a plea is made, unless a written plea of not guilty shall be made in writing under the provisions of Rule 3.170(a)
    • At any pretrial conference, unless waived by the Defendant in writing.
    • At the beginning of the trial during the examination, challenging, impaneling, and swearing of the jury.
    • At all proceedings before the court when the jury is present.
    • When evidence is addressed to the court out of the presence of the jury for the purpose of laying the foundation for the introduction of evidence before the jury.
    • At any view by the jury.
    • At the rendition of the verdict.
    • At the pronouncement of judgment and the imposition of sentence.”

A Defendant removed from court:

  • Under subsection 3.180(c) the Defendant can be removed from the courtroom if his behavior is disruptive. In other words, the judge can literally order the Defendant out of the courtroom while the State Attorney proves the case against him.

Presence of Defendant not always necessary:

A brief reading of the rules makes it clear that there are specific instances where a Defendant’s presence is not necessary. For example:

    • Arraignment (if waived)
    • Pretrial (if waived)
    • Hearings on Motions filed by Defense Counsel (unless the judge orders the Defendant to be present).
    • Trial (if removed by the Court).


As you can see, the Defendant’s presence is really not required until the very end of a case, the trial. If the Defendant is from out of town or has a busy schedule, having a defense attorney can help you save on travel expenses to and from court, as well as allow you to maintain your work schedule and life, right up until trial.