Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.
Good morning. I certainly understand your question and concern. I have provide section 977 below, for your review. As you can see, the ability to have your appearance waived and allow your attorney to appear on your behalf, applies to the actual charge. As such, you should review the code below, to first see if the matter is something stated within, that would prevent it. If not, then your attorney could waive your appearance and appear for you. Sometimes, Judges do want the defendant present, so if requested, you would need to be there. Your attorney can always file a notice of appearance and the motion ahead of time, seeing if the Judge is going to order you to appear. If you are represented by counsel, it should not likely be a problem.
(a)(1)In all cases in which the accused is charged with a misdemeanor only, he or she may appear by counsel only, except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3). If the accused agrees, the initial court appearance, arraignment, and plea may be by video, as provided by subdivision (c).
(2)If the accused is charged with a misdemeanor offense involving domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211 of the Family Code, or a misdemeanor violation of Section 273.6, the accused shall be present for arraignment and sentencing, and at any time during the proceedings when ordered by the court for the purpose of being informed of the conditions of a protective order issued pursuant to Section 136.2.
(3)If the accused is charged with a misdemeanor offense involving driving under the influence, in an appropriate case, the court may order a defendant to be present for arraignment, at the time of plea, or at sentencing. For purposes of this paragraph, a misdemeanor offense involving driving under the influence shall include a misdemeanor violation of any of the following:
(A)Subdivision (b) of Section 191.5.
(B)Section 23103 as specified in Section 23103.5 of the Vehicle Code.
(C)Section 23152 of the Vehicle Code.
(D)Section 23153 of the Vehicle Code.
(b)(1)In all cases in which a felony is charged, the accused shall be present at the arraignment, at the time of plea, during the preliminary hearing, during those portions of the trial when evidence is taken before the trier of fact, and at the time of the imposition of sentence. The accused shall be personally present at all other proceedings unless he or she shall, with leave of court, execute in open court, a written waiver of his or her right to be personally present, as provided by paragraph (2). If the accused agrees, the initial court appearance, arraignment, and plea may be by video, as provided by subdivision (c).
(2)The accused may execute a written waiver of his or her right to be personally present, approved by his or her counsel, and the waiver shall be filed with the court. However, the court may specifically direct the defendant to be personally present at any particular proceeding or portion thereof. The waiver shall be substantially in the following form:
"Waiver of Defendant's Personal Presence"
"The undersigned defendant, having been advised of his or her right to be present at all stages of the proceedings, including, but not limited to, presentation of and arguments on questions of fact and law, and to be confronted by and cross-examine all witnesses, hereby waives the right to be present at the hearing of any motion or other proceeding in this cause. The undersigned defendant hereby requests the court to proceed during every absence of the defendant that the court may permit pursuant to this waiver, and hereby agrees that his or her interest is represented at all times by the presence of his or her attorney the same as if the defendant were personally present in court, and further agrees that notice to his or her attorney that his or her presence in court on a particular day at a particular time is required is notice to the defendant of the requirement of his or her appearance at that time and place."
(c)The court may permit the initial court appearance and arraignment of defendants held in any state, county, or local facility within the county on felony or misdemeanor charges, except for those defendants who were indicted by a grand jury, to be conducted by two-way electronic audiovideo communication between the defendant and the courtroom in lieu of the physical presence of the defendant in the courtroom. If the defendant is represented by counsel, the attorney shall be present with the defendant at the initial court appearance and arraignment, and may enter a plea during the arraignment. However, if the defendant is represented by counsel at an arraignment on an information in a felony case, and if the defendant does not plead guilty or nolo contendere to any charge, the attorney shall be present with the defendant or if the attorney is not present with the defendant, the attorney shall be present in court during the hearing. The defendant shall have the right to make his or her plea while physically present in the courtroom if he or she so requests. If the defendant decides not to exercise the right to be physically present in the courtroom, he or she shall execute a written waiver of that right. A judge may order a defendant's personal appearance in court for the initial court appearance and arraignment. In a misdemeanor case, a judge may, pursuant to this subdivision, accept a plea of guilty or no contest from a defendant who is not physically in the courtroom. In a felony case, a judge may, pursuant to this subdivision, accept a plea of guilty or no contest from a defendant who is not physically in the courtroom if the parties stipulate thereto.
(d)Notwithstanding subdivision (c), if the defendant is represented by counsel, the attorney shall be present with the defendant in any county exceeding 4,000,000 persons in population.
Please let me know if you have any follow up questions or need any clarification on something which I stated above, prior to rating me. Also, please remember to rate my service with 3, 4, or 5 faces/stars, before exiting the site, so I can receive credit for my help. I hope you found it to be Excellent! Only rate my answer when you are 100% satisfied. If you feel the need to click either of the two faces/stars on the left, please STOP and reply to me via the "REPLY TO EXPERT or CONTINUE CONVERSATION "button. I want to make sure your experience with the site was as pleasurable as possible and that you are satisfied with the help I provided.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).