Florida Criminal Procedure

Rules, Statutes, and Cases

3.180. Presence of Defendant

RULE 3.180. PRESENCE OF DEFENDANT 

(a) Presence of Defendant.  In all prosecutions for crime the defendant shall be present:

(1) at first appearance;

(2) when a plea is made, unless a written plea of not guilty shall be made in writing under the provisions of rule 3.170(a);

(3) at any pretrial conference, unless waived by the defendant in writing;

(4) at the beginning of the trial during the examination, challenging, impanelling, and swearing of the jury;

(5) at all proceedings before the court when the jury is present;

(6) when evidence is addressed to the court out of the presence of the jury for the purpose of laying the foundation for the introduction of evidence before the jury;

(7) at any view by the jury;

(8) at the rendition of the verdict; and

(9) at the pronouncement of judgment and the imposition of sentence.

(b) Presence; Definition.  A defendant is present for purposes of this rule if the defendant is physically in attendance for the courtroom proceeding, and has a meaningful opportunity to be heard through counsel on the issues being discussed.

(c) Defendant Absenting Self. 

(1) Trial.  If the defendant is present at the beginning of the trial and there-after, during the progress of the trial or before the verdict of the jury has been returned into court, voluntarily absents himself or herself from the presence of the court without leave of court, or is removed from the presence of the court because of his or her disruptive conduct during the trial, the trial of the cause or the return of the verdict of the jury in the case shall not thereby be postponed or delayed, but the trial, the submission of the case to the jury for verdict, and the return of the verdict thereon shall proceed in all respects as though the defendant were present in court at all times.

(2) Sentencing.  If the defendant is present at the beginning of the trial and thereafter absents himself or herself as described in subdivision (1), or if the defendant enters a plea of guilty or no contest and thereafter absents himself or herself from sentencing, the sentencing may proceed in all respects as though the defendant were present at all times.

(d) Defendant May Be Tried in Absentia for Misdemeanors.  Persons prosecuted for misdemeanors may, at their own request, by leave of court, be excused from attendance at any or all of the proceedings aforesaid.

(e) Presence of Corporation. A corporation may appear by counsel at all times and for all purposes.

 

COMMENTARY:  None at this time.

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