I am interested in both civil and criminal cases. Suppose a defendant is charged with a crime or has a civil complaint is filed against that defendant. However, the defendant is granted bail or just issued a citation in the criminal case.

Suppose at that point the defendant’s visa is about to expire and needs to leave the country, but either there is not enough time to get a new visa or the US government refuses to issue a new visa.

How can the defendant clear their name in court in this situation? What is the proper course of action?

  • When I read the title I was thinking what would happen if someone were sued in civil court in the US while living outside the US and could not secure a visa, but this scenario is interesting too. Dec 1, 2018 at 2:23
  • @IllusiveBrian I think your situation is also interesting
    – Viktor
    Dec 1, 2018 at 2:27

1 Answer 1


A defendant does not have to attend trial in a civil case. Your lawyers can run your defence without you. The court will make reasonable efforts to allow you to attend if you want to but if you can’t or won’t (for whatever reasons) the plaintiff has a right to their day in court without you.

In a criminal trial, you will be detained (by immigration authorities) until the trial is resolved. At the end of the trial (if acquitted) or sentence (if convicted) you will be deported. If the offence is relatively minor, the state may choose not to pursue them in order to expedite the deportation.

  • I believe this answer is insufficient because it does not address two questions: 1. Detention does not occur for certain criminal acts such as speeding or similar. 2. What is the legal standard to deny the defendant the opportunity to be in a courtroom during a civil trial?
    – Viktor
    Dec 1, 2018 at 4:56
  • @Viktor detention does apply for immigration violations
    – Dale M
    Dec 1, 2018 at 5:37
  • I am specifically asking not about immigration related activities but like let’s say a speeding ticket that someone wishes to contest.
    – Viktor
    Dec 1, 2018 at 5:37
  • @Viktor Most traffic offenses like speeding tickets are not criminal offenses, they are typically classified as "infractions", civil penalties, or misdemeanors.
    – Ron Beyer
    Dec 1, 2018 at 5:39
  • Suppose the defendant was cited in a state that considers them criminal violations. I believe Texas is one such state.
    – Viktor
    Dec 1, 2018 at 5:40

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