Are you facing a lawsuit for failing to appear in court? Violating Penal Code 1214.1 typically results in a fine. Additionally, you’ll have to pay any outstanding penalties you had before incurring Penal Code 1214.1 fine. Depending on your circumstance, it’s likely that you were previously charged with a DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) offense for which consulting a DUI lawyer is in your best interest.
No matter your circumstance, contact our DUI defense law firm for a free case evaluation and consultation with an expert Los Angeles DUI defense attorney.
Penal Code 1214.1 Defined
The CA Penal Code 1214.1 states that if a person knowingly fails to appear in a court for a criminal procedure, they will incur a $300 fine.
For someone to be fined for failing to show up in court, the state needs to prove that:
- A notice was sent to the individual informing them to show up in court
- The individual disregarded the notice with no good cause
Some examples of violations of Penal Code 1214.1 include:
- Jane is charged with shoplifting in accordance with Penal Code 459.5. However, she flees the state instead of showing up for her trial.
- Amber fails to appear at her arraignment after being charged with DUI under Penal Code 23152a.
- Woody pleads guilty to the crime of vandalism under Penal Code 594 but fails to show up in court on the day of his sentencing hearing.
Additional Provisions of Penal Code 1214.1
Defendants are often given a 10 day grace period to appear in court. During this time, the court may furnish the individual with an additional notice informing them of their failure to show up in court. If the individual responds by providing a good reason for failing to show up for their hearing within the stipulated time frame, the assessment fee will be revoked.
Is Failure to Show Up in Court a Criminal Offense?
An individual can be charged for failing to show up in court in California in the following circumstances:
- The individual is convicted of or charged with a California crime,
- The individual is released from custody,
- And they knowingly fail to show up in court on the court-mandated date to evade the court process.
The penalties for failing to show up in a California court vary with the type of crime that an individual was initially convicted of.
Is Failure to Show Up in Court a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
Suppose a defendant was initially charged with a misdemeanor and was released on their own recognizance; failing to show up is a misdemeanor. The penalty for such an individual includes up to six months in county jail.
However, if the individual was either:
- Charged with a felony and was released on their own recognizance or,
- Charged with a felony and was released on bail,
The failure to show up in court under California law will be treated as a felony. Potential penalties in such a scenario include a sentence of up to one year in county jail.
Defenses for Failing to Show Up in Court
Failing to show up in court is one of the gravest mistakes that a defendant can make. The consequences could be dire. An attorney can use various common defenses for failing to show up, but you should be conversant with what could happen if you fail to appear in court.
Request Additional Time to Appear
In case you fail to appear in court, a skilled defense attorney will request additional time from the court. Doing this allows your attorney to get hold of you and find out your reason for not being present in court. Typically the judge will hold a warrant within 12 to 48 hours.
It is up to your attorney to prove that your failure to appear in court wasn’t because of malicious intent and that you did not attempt to evade the court procedures. Suppose the prosecutor and judge determine that you knowingly disregarded your notice to show up for a court hearing, a warrant for your arrest will be issued.
Whereas the police may not implement the warrant immediately, your driving license will be flagged, and they will ultimately arrest you. Bond assessment will occur at the time of the issuance of the warrant. Suppose it’s deemed that you won’t show up in subsequent hearings; the judge might issue a no-bond hold. This means that you’ll be in custody until the day of your hearing.
Notice Was Sent to the Wrong Address
One of the most common excuses for not appearing in court is that the notice was sent to the wrong address. Defendants should ensure that the court has the correct mailing address. For this defense to stand, there shouldn’t be an extenuating situation at the address that the court has on file.
If the circumstances that led to you not showing up are beyond your control, including hospitalization, natural disaster, or a debilitating illness, the judge may be sympathetic to your plight and opt not to charge you with failure to appear (FTA).
Can I Be Charged for Failing to Show Up for a Traffic Violation?
According to Vehicle Code 40508 VC, failing to appear in court for a traffic violation in California is a criminal act. In order for someone to be convicted under the Vehicle Code 40508 act, the prosecutor must establish the following things:
- The defendant was issued with a traffic ticket
- The defendant appended their signature on a written pledge vowing to appear in court in connection with the ticket.
- The defendant knowingly failed to show up
The penalties for traffic violations in California are:
- Imprisonment in a county jail for up to six months
- A $1000 fine
- Suspension of the defendant’s driving license
Discuss DUI Failure to Appear Fines with an Attorney Today
We’re here to assist if you were charged with failure to show up in court in California. Los Angeles DUI Attorney can review your case and help you fight CA Penal Code 1214.1 fines. Reach out to our DUI attorneys for help today at (310) 862-0199. Let us review your case for free.