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Last Updated on: 26th August 2023, 07:52 pm
Sounds like you’ve got quite the legal conundrum on your hands there. You’ve missed a court appearance and now California law is breathing down your neck. Yikes.
Penal Code 1320 & 1320.5 PC, as stated by the Californian law, pretty much says if you pull a disappearing act at court, they aren’t too pleased. If that court date was for a felony charge, you’ve just landed yourself another felony. If it was just a misdemeanor, well, it’s still a misdemeanor, but honestly, do you need any more trouble?
Were you let out on your “own recognizance”? Code 1320 & 1320.5 PC is ready to shake your hand. If you had a felony charge or conviction looming overhead and got out on bail, Code 1320.5 PC has got you covered. Now, if you decide to go MIA, you’re in for some legal woes. And by legal woes, I mean charges.
Here’s the play-by-play – Penal Code 1320 PC pushes the red buzzer if you willfully skip court. The prosecutor’s got to show the cards – that you were charged with or convicted of a crime, you purposefully missed court, you dodged the court process, and you were released on your own recognizance. My advice? Don’t give the prosecutor good cards.
This is how it’s split – on one side you’ve got own recognizance, on the other, bail. With an O.R. release, a judge gives you a nod to jet without posting bail. However, there are strings attached. You’ve got to sign a deal with the court to show up when requested, stay in California unless the court says otherwise, submit to extradition if you mess things up, understand the consequences if you break your promise, and follow any other court-imposed conditions.
If a judge doesn’t think you’ve earned an O.R. release, they can set bail and keep you in custody till that bail’s posted. If you get bail, you’re back to being free. If you can’t cough up the cash for bail, I’m afraid you’ll have a longer term of staying put.
Here’s where things can topple like dominos. Failure to appear in court can end up with fines, probation, or even time behind bars, depending on your charge. If you skip out on a traffic ticket, you might lose your license and even get an arrest warrant. Here’s a curveball though – there could be problems with immigration if you miss a court date.
Let’s say you’re fighting a fail-to-appear charge, Todd Spodek and the crack team at the Spodek Law Group are the veteran players you’ll want on your side. These guys know the game better than anyone else and can fight tooth and nail for you.
This is a pretty big deal – Penal Code 1320.5 PC is the term used when a defendant with a felony charge or conviction, who’s been let out on bail, skips in court. This felony brings some heavy hitters to the batter’s box, including a maximum fine of $10 grand, up to three years in county jail, or even a state prison sentence that’s as long as three years.
If PC 1320’s accusations have your name on it, there are three main defenses you could use. The “No willful act” defense claims that you only get the guilt if you chose not to come to court. It’s a solid swing if you show you forgot your court date. The “No attempt to evade the court process” states you’re only guilty if you bailed on court to dodge the process. This can work if you can prove you had a good reason not to be there, like an emergency. The “Falsely accused” defense is the ticket if you’re an innocent bystander in this situation.
Here’s the rundown – if you have a misdemeanor charge or conviction and you bail on court, it’s a misdemeanor that could get you six months in county jail and/or slap a $1000 fine on you. If your charge or conviction’s a felony and you don’t show up for court, it’s a felony with a maximum fine of $5000 and potential for a year in county jail or sixteen months, two years, or a maximum of three years in state prison.
There’s room for a comeback play. If you’re convicted under PC 1320, you can try to wipe the slate clean by completing probation or a jail term. An expunged conviction gets you off the hook with potential employers – they don’t need to know about it. PC 1203.4 allows for such expungement as long as you’ve successfully completed probation and aren’t currently charged with or serving a sentence.
A PC 1320 conviction doesn’t shoot your gun rights down instantly. However, certain convictions might turn them to dust. Note that some misdemeanors carry a ten-year firearm ban in California.
There are three laws you may want to know about that go hand in hand with failing to appear in court:
For a free, confidential consultation – whether face-to-face or over a call – hit up Spodek Law Group. They’ve got players all over the California map, right from the San Fernando Valley, San Diego, Oakland, and the San Francisco Bay area to Orange County, Sonoma County, Ventura, Sacramento, San Jose, and all across Los Angeles.
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