(a) When Necessary.

The defendant shall be present at the arraignment, at every stage of the trial including the empaneling of the jury and the return of the verdict, and at the imposition of sentence, except as otherwise provided by these rules, or as excused or excluded by the court for good cause shown.

(b) Effect of Voluntary Absence.

The defendant's voluntary absence after the trial has commenced in his or her presence shall not prevent continuing the trial to and including the return of the verdict. A corporation may appear by its lawyer for all purposes. In prosecutions for offenses punishable by fine only, the court, with the written consent of the defendant, may permit arraignment, plea, trial and imposition of sentence in the defendant's absence.

(c) Defendant Not Present.

If in any case the defendant is not present when his or her personal attendance is necessary, the court may order the clerk to issue a bench warrant for the defendant's arrest, which may be served as a warrant of arrest in other cases.

(d) Video Conference Proceedings.

(1) Authorization. Preliminary appearances held pursuant to CrRLJ 3.2.1(d), arraignments held pursuant to this rule and CrRLJ 4.1, bail hearings held pursuant to CrRLJ 3.2, and trial settings held pursuant to CrRLJ 3.3(f), may be conducted by video conference in which all participants can simultaneously see, hear, and speak with each other. Such proceedings shall be deemed held in open court and in the defendant's presence for the purposes of any statute, court rule or policy. All video conference hearings conducted pursuant to this rule shall be public, and the public shall be able to simultaneously see and hear all participants and speak as permitted by the trial court judge. Any party may request an inperson hearing, which may in the trial court judge's discretion be granted.

(2) Agreement. Other trial court proceedings including the entry of a Statement of Defendant on Plea of Guilty as provided for by CrRLJ 4.2 may be conducted by video conference only by agreement of the parties, either in writing or on the record, and upon the approval of the trial court judge pursuant to local court rule.

(3) Standards for Video Conference Proceedings. The judge, counsel, all parties, and the public must be able to see and hear each other during proceedings, and speak as permitted by the judge. Video conference facilities must provide for confidential communications between attorney and client and security sufficient to protect the safety of all participants and observers. In interpreted proceedings, the interpreter must be located next to the defendant and the proceeding must be conducted to assure that the interpreter can hear all participants.

Supersedes RCW 10.01.080; RCW 10.46.120, .130; RCW 10.64.020, .030. Amended 12/02/99