Obsolete Date: 3/1/2004
(a) Presence Required. The defendant must be present at the arraignment, at the time of the plea, at every stage of the trial including the impaneling of the jury and the return of the verdict, and at the imposition of sentence, except as otherwise provided by this Rule.
(b) Continued Presence Not Required. The further progress of the trial, including the return of the verdict and the imposition of sentence may not be prevented and the defendant waives the right to be present if the defendant, initially present at trial, or having pleaded guilty,
(1) is voluntarily absent after the trial has begun (whether or not the defendant has been informed by the court of the obligation to remain during the trial),
(2) is voluntarily absent at the imposition of sentence, or
(3) after being warned by the court that disruptive conduct will cause the removal of the defendant from the courtroom, persists in conduct that justifies the defendant's exclusion from the courtroom.
(c) Presence Not Required. A defendant need not be present
(1) when represented by counsel and the defendant is an organization, not an individual;
(2) when the offense is punishable by fine or by imprisonment for not more than one year or both, and the court, with the written consent of the defendant, permits arraignment, plea, trial, and imposition of sentence in the defendant's absence;
(3) when the proceeding involves only a conference or hearing upon a question of law; or
(4) when the proceeding involves a correction or reduction of sentence under Rule 35.
Although Rule 43 does not require the defendant's presence in all instances, the rule does not give a defendant the right to be absent. The court has discretion whether to require the presence of the defendant.
In a non-felony case, if the defendant pleads guilty without appearing in court, a written form must be used advising the defendant of his or her constitutional rights and creating a record showing that the plea was made voluntarily, knowingly, and understandingly.
Rule 37 provides for summary affirmance if the defendant does not appear at a trial anew.
Rule 43 was amended, effective March 1, 2006, in response to the December 1, 2002, revision of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The language and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.
Subdivision (a) was amended, effective March 1, 2010, to explain requirements for the consideration of questions submitted by the jury after deliberations begin.
Subdivision (a) was amended, effective March 1, 2015, to allow a defendant to be present by contemporaneous audio or audiovisual transmission using reliable electronic means. Any appearance by a defendant by electronic means must be consistent with the standards set by N.D. Sup. Ct. Admin. R. 52, which governs the use of contemporaneous transmission by reliable electronic means in court proceedings.
Subdivision (b) was amended, effective March 1, 2015, to allow a represented defendant in a felony case to waive presence at the preliminary hearing and submit a not guilty plea in writing.
Subdivision (b) was amended, effective October 1, 2016, to clarify that a represented defendant in a felony case may waive presence at the arraignment in writing and to require all defendants seeking waiver of presence to acknowledge in writing that they were advised of their rights.
SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of May 12-13, 2016, pages 2-10; January 28-29, 2016, page 7; September 24-25, 2015, pages 21-23; April 24-25, 2014, pages 12-15; May 21-22, 2009, pages 10-11; January 29-30, 2009, pages 13-17; September 28-29, 2006, pages 8-10; January 27-28, 2005, pages 34-36; September 26-27, 2002, pages 13-14; January 30, 1997, pages 7-8; September 26-27, 1996, pages 8-10; January 26-27, 1995, pages 5-6; September 29-30, 1994, pages 2-4; April 28-29, 1994, pages 10-12; April 20, 1989, page 4; December 3, 1987, page 15; December 7-8, 1978, pages 27-28; October 12-13, 1978, pages 43-44; December 11-15, 1972, pages 41-43; May 15-16, 1969, pages 11-13.
SUPERSEDED: N.D.C.C. §§ 29-12-12, 29-13-02, 29-14-21, 29-16-03, 29-16-04, 29-16-06, 29-22-05, 29-22-11, 29-26-04, 33-12-23.
CONSIDERED: N.D.C.C. §§ 29-16-05, 29-26-11.
CROSS REFERENCE: N.D.R.Crim.P. 5 (Initial Appearance Before the Magistrate); N.D.R.Crim.P. 10 (Arraignment); N.D.R.Crim.P. 11 (Pleas); N.D.R.Crim.P. 35 (Correcting or Reducing a Sentence); N.D.R.Crim.P. 37 (Appeal as of Right to District Court; How Taken); N.D.R.Crim.P. Appendix Form 17 (Misdemeanor Petition to Enter Plea of Guilty); N.D.R.Crim.P. Appendix Form 18 (Petition to Waive Preliminary Hearing and Arraignment in a Felony Case); N.D. Sup. Ct. Admin. R. 52 (Contemporaneous Transmission by Reliable Electronic Means ).