Is there a way I can resolve my Vermont criminal case without going to court?

Published by Jessica Burke on

In some Vermont criminal cases an experienced criminal defense attorney can waive the defendant’s appearance at arraignment and resolve the case for a dismissal of the charge or a plea by waiver so that the defendant never has to come to court.

Pursuant to Vermont Rule of Criminal Procedure 43(c) a defendant need not be present in the following situations:

  •  In prosecutions for misdemeanors, the defendant, with the consent of the court, may waive appearance under Rule 5 in writing and the court, with the written consent of the defendant and the state’s attorney, may permit arraignment, pleas of guilty, nolo contendere or not guilty, trial, and imposition of sentence in the defendant’s absence. Before a plea of not guilty may be filed and accepted by the court, the state’s attorney and the defendant shall agree upon bail and conditions of release, which shall be signed by the defendant and his or her attorney, and filed with the court simultaneously with the plea of not guilty.
  •  The defendant’s presence is not required at a conference or argument upon a question of law and is not required at any other proceeding except as provided in subdivision (a) of this rule or otherwise ordered by the court.

In other words, a Vermont criminal defense attorney can waive a defendant’s appearance at arraignment or further status conferences by getting the prosecutor and the Court to agree by filing a motion. This happens routinely in Vermont criminal court and does not have a negative impact on the outcome of defendant’s case.

If the prosecutor agrees to dismiss the case, the defendant would also not need be present or appear for the dismissal of the Vermont criminal action.

If the defendant, through his attorney, and the state reach a plea deal, but is impossible or impractical for the defendant to attend court to resolve his case then the defendant may resolve his case with a plea agreement and a plea by waiver. Additionally, most Vermont Superior Court judges require an agreed upon factual basis that is attached to these documents as well as a acknowledgement of potential collateral consequences of a conviction.

If you are facing criminal charges in Vermont but are concerned that it will be impossible or impractical for you to attend your court hearing due to living in another state or country, medical condition or other reason, contact the experienced criminal attorneys at Burke Law for a free, confidential case consultation. 

Jessica Burke

Jessica Burke is a licensed Vermont attorney and the founder of Burke Law. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Boston College in Political Science, and then received her law degree from Washington & Lee Law School. After law school she worked with several top law firms before settling in Vermont and building her own practice. In addition to being licensed to practice law in the state of Vermont, she also holds a State Bar certification in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, among others. She specializes in criminal defense, including DUI defense, homicides, and sex crimes.

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