Most of the Time the Charges Will Be Dismissed
Video Transcribed: What Happens When Witnesses Don’t Show Up? Hi, my name is Ryan Cannonie. I’m an attorney in Tahlequah. And a question I get asked is, “Hey, what happens when we set this hearing, or possibly a trial, what happens if no one shows up?” Well, a lot of times, especially if it’s for trial, there’s going to end up being a dismissal of whatever the charges are.
Now, if it’s a jury trial or something like that, even if the witnesses don’t show up the first day, then a lot of times there’s still a little bit of flexibility for the prosecution, and that it takes at least all morning, sometimes all day, sometimes a couple of days, if you do it the old way of selecting a jury, it can take as much as four or five days, to finally get your jury, and panel, sworn in, and ready to actually hear the case.
So they have a little bit of time to try to track down witnesses. But, if it’s time to go, time to present evidence, and there are no witnesses there when they’re supposed to be, then a lot of times you’ll be looking at some form of dismissal.
Now, let’s rewind this. Let’s say it’s back, and we’re talking about a preliminary hearing, earlier on in the case. If it’s a preliminary hearing setting, it’s the first time everyone’s appeared for a preliminary hearing, then a lot of times what will happen is there’ll be a continuance.
Even if you object to it, your attorney objects, the judge a lot of times will give the state at least one more bite at the apple, one more time to try to get their witnesses there.
And then upon that, a lot of times they’ll even say if we show up again, there are no witnesses, then the case will be dismissed. And a lot of times that’s how that will work out.
So when you’re going into a case, if you know there are witness issues, if you know that, for instance, someone who is supposed to be a witness against you has said, “I’m not going to show up.” Was told all the friends and family they’re not going to show up.
Has active warrants. Has recently fled the country. I don’t know, whatever’s going on with them. Let your attorney know. Because, as attorneys, we can kind of look at the facts, we can look at the law.
When it comes to the human condition, that’s something that we don’t always know about in your life. We don’t know what relationships, or not relationships, you have with some of these witnesses. We don’t always have the same friends or family that are going to be telling us, “Hey, so-and-so said they’re not showing up.” Anything like that, it’s good to know. It’s good for you to tell your attorney.
If you have more questions about the criminal process, or if you’ve recently been charged with a crime, then please, give us a call and we’ll talk it over, look through your case, and see if we can help.