Saint Bonifacius, MN asked in Criminal Law, Traffic Tickets and Car Accidents for Minnesota

Q: Why is my appearance in court mandatory?

I was in an accident due to a failure to yield left and they found me at fault for the accident. I was told by the officer in charge that I would be able to pay my citation and plead guilty for the charge, but now it says I have a mandatory court appearance. It is a misdemeanor for crim/traffic and I’m not sure what that means really. I also live out of state for college, so I’m not sure if I will even be here for the hearing. I need help!

3 Lawyer Answers
William Bailey
William Bailey
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Bloomington, MN
  • Licensed in Minnesota

A: A court appearance is generally required if there was property damage or if someone was injured. An attorney may be able to appear on your behalf without you having to travel back. You should reach out to an attorney directly for more specific advice.

Jonathan Matthew Holson
Jonathan Matthew Holson
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rogers, MN
  • Licensed in Minnesota

A: I am assuming that the box was checked for property damage or accident which makes the offense a misdemeanor and therefore mandatory. Court appearances, through at least February 1, are being held remotely - via Zoom. You could either handle the matter that way or better yet pay an attorney to represent you.

William Bailey agrees with this answer

Thomas C Gallagher
Thomas C Gallagher
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Licensed in Minnesota

A: If the officer checks the "property damage or injury" box on the citation, the court appearance becomes mandatory. That means failure to appear will result in an arrest warrant. A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by a maximum of 90 days jail, though jail is rare in cases like this. Avoiding a criminal conviction record is typically more important to most people. With the court's response to COVID, a remote appearance via Zoom is likely for the First Appearance. Contact the court about those details. You may want to consult or retain a criminal defense attorney.

William Bailey agrees with this answer

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.