Existing provisions of the California Constitution provide a criminal defendant the right to be personally present with counsel at trial. This right is essential to fairness and justice in our criminal justice system. The presence of a defendant at trial ensures that the proceedings are conducted in a calm and orderly manner, and that the defendant has an opportunity to hear and see the evidence against him or her. Additionally, the presence of a defendant helps to ensure the safety of all participants in the trial, including victims, witnesses, and court personnel. In short, the right to be present at trial is essential to ensuring fairness and justice in our criminal justice system. However, existing law authorizes a court to proceed in the absence of a defendant if he or she voluntarily absents himself or herself from the courtroom or is removed for disruptive behavior. As such, it is important for defendants to understand their rights and responsibilities before entering a plea of guilty or waive their right to be present at trial.