What does “defendant admonished to trial in absentia” mean?

Posted: July 29th, 2011

Question:

What does “defendant admonished to trial in absentia” mean?  Is this utilized only in misdemeanor cases?

Answer:

No. This language is used in both misdemeanor and felony cases.

This means the defendant was advised by the court that should he/she fail to appear in court, a trial could proceed without the defendant being present. The defendant would be voluntarily “absent” for trial and the trial could proceed in his/her absence.  The defendant could be found guilty at that trial and sentencing would proceed, again in the absence of the defendant.  Under such circumstances, the defendant could be sentenced for the offense of which he/she was found guilty.  In felony cases, this would include the possibility of a sentence to the penitentiary.

Information provided by the law firm of Noonan Perillo Ltd.

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