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Do I Have to Come to Court?

Updated July 23, 2014

A useful thing a lawyer may do for you is go to court for you,  so you won’t have to miss work or travel back to North Carolina. Whether a lawyer can do that depends upon whether the charge is  “waivable.”   We all have the right to be present when our case is heard (and we also have the duty to be there).  However, in minor traffic cases, the defendant may waive their right to be in court, and allow a lawyer to handle the case.   The Waiver of Appearance is a paper that you sign and return to your lawyer.

Click below to see  a sample of the waiver I send clients to sign and return to me  (You’ll have to click twice. The first click gets you to another screen with the phrase “Sample Waiver. ”  Then click on that phrase again to see the form).

Sample Waiver

Common waivable charges are  improper passing,  minor speeding tickets, stop sign and traffic light tickets,  possession of an open alcohol container, failure to yield, and  driving the wrong way.

Some offenses that require you to be in court are driving with a revoked license,  possession of  stolen or fictitious plates, DWI, reckless driving, high-speed tickets, failure to stop at the scene of an accident,  and failure to have insurance.  [Source:  Uniform Policies Related to Traffic Offenses, NC Administrative Office of the Courts (2011)]

Even if you are charged with a non-waivable offense, I may still appear for you.  How?  By pleading down your non-waivable offense down to a lesser charge that is waivable. For example, you are charged with driving 82 mph in a 65 mph zone.  If I can get that reduced to 74 in a 65,  I can usually enter that reduced plea using a waiver form.

Let me go to court for you — call me now for a free consult!  919-683-2175.                     

About ken

I've been practicing law in Durham, NC for 30 years now. I focus on traffic cases, personal injury and workers compensation. I graduated from Wake Forest University in 1980 with a BA in political science. I went to Mercer University for law school, graduating in 1983. I began practicing in Durham the next year, and I have been here ever since.

Initially, I did just about any kind of case that came in the door. However, it's hard to get good at any area if you're trying to do them all. So, I settled on personal injury, workers compensation and traffic cases.

I am married and have two sons (ages 20 and 16). My wife is a physical therapist. My older son is a college sophomore and my younger is a high school sophomore. We also have three pets -- a Havanese dog named Blitzen, a tabby calico cat named Donner, and a black cat named Olive. (I'll let you figure out those names. . . )

I hope to hear from you!

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