A person may willingly fail to appear in court, even when required to do so. In this instance, an individual required to appear for a misdemeanor can face an additional misdemeanor charge. Meanwhile, an individual required to appear for a felony can receive another felony charge.
Failure to appear in court in a Los Angeles DUI case can have far-flung effects on a defendant. We can put you in touch with an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney who can teach you about the ramifications of failing to appear in court. This lawyer can also explain the ins and outs of CA Penal Code 1320 & 1320.5.
Is Failure to Appear in Court Illegal?
CA Penal Code 1320 and 1320.5 state it is against the law to forgo a court appearance relating to a misdemeanor or felony charge. It applies to defendants who are released under their own recognizance. In these instances, defendants can face additional penalties.
In a misdemeanor case, failure to appear in court is punishable by up to six months in county jail. Comparatively, in a felony case, failure to appear in court can result in a jail sentence of up to one year. Or, the defendant in a felony case can receive up to three years in state prison due to failure to appear in court.
A defendant is expected to appear in court as planned. However, there are rare instances in which a defendant is unable to do so. In these cases, a defendant can build a legal defense to avoid additional penalties.
How Can a Defendant Content a Failure to Appear in Court Charge?
A defendant can create a legal defense to dispute a failure to appear in court charge. To do so, the defendant may consider a wide range of legal strategies, such as:
No Willful Act Occurred
A defendant can inadvertently miss a court date. The defendant can make a mistake that results in failure to appear in court. Since the error was not willful on the defendant’s behalf, it may allow this individual to have their failure to appear in court charge dismissed.
Plaintiff Did Not Attempt to Avoid the Court Process
If a defendant does not show up in court for a legitimate reason, a failure to appear in court charge may be dropped. For example, a defendant may have an emergency that makes it impossible to appear in court. This can lead a court to dismiss the charge and give the defendant a new date and time to appear.
A defendant can be falsely accused of violating CA Penal Codes 1320 and 1325. An accuser can make false allegations against a defendant due to jealousy, anger, or revenge. If a defendant successfully counters false allegations, this individual can have a failure to appear in court charge removed.
Hiring a criminal defense attorney is a great starting point for disputing failure to appear in court charges. The lawyer can review the facts surrounding a defendant’s case. This attorney can offer legal support for the duration of the defendant’s litigation.
Can a Failure to Appear in Court Charge Be Expunged?
Expungement refers to the removal of a criminal conviction from a state or federal record. A person can have a failure to appear in court conviction expunged. This requires an individual to complete several steps.
A person can request a failure to appear in court conviction be expunged, regardless of whether it was a misdemeanor or felony. To get the request approved, an individual must complete their probation. Also, this individual must not be currently charged with a criminal offense, on probation for a criminal offense, or serving a sentence for a criminal offense.
Partnering with a criminal defense lawyer can help an individual navigate the expungement process. An attorney can offer tips and guidance regarding expungement for a failure to appear in court conviction. The lawyer will ensure their client is well equipped to have their failure to appear in court conviction expunged as quickly as possible.
Is It Possible to Avoid a Failure to Appear in Court Charge?
The best way to avoid a failure to appear in court charge is to make a plan to get to court on schedule. If an individual prepares for their court date, this individual can avoid a failure to appear in court charge. Plus, this individual can complete their court appearance and move past it.
There can be times when a defendant is unable to appear in court. If this happens, it helps to have a criminal defense lawyer on hand. The defendant can notify their criminal defense lawyer about the absence, and the attorney can figure out the best course of action.
Do not expect a court to be lenient on a defendant who does not appear as scheduled. A court will punish a defendant for failure to appear in court as it deems fit. If a defendant takes precautions, this individual may be able to avoid a failure to appear in court altogether.
What Happens if You Fail to Appear in Court in a DUI Case?
Failure to appear in court in a DUI case works the same way as any other type of case. A defendant can face penalties due to their failure to appear. The defendant’s DUI case will remain ongoing even if this individual does not appear in court.
Those facing DUI charges in Los Angeles can work with a top-notch criminal defense lawyer. This allows a defendant to collaborate with a Los Angeles DUI lawyer who contests any charges. A DUI attorney in Los Angeles can help a defendant build a successful legal strategy as well.
A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles examines all legal options available to a defendant. If a defendant can benefit from a plea bargain or other legal actions, the attorney notifies the client accordingly. Then, the defendant and their attorney can work in lockstep to achieve the best possible case results.
Should You Hire an Attorney to Contest a Failure to Appear in Court Charge?
It is a good idea to hire an attorney to contest failure to appear in court and DUI charges. A Los Angeles DUI attorney can help you dispute both of these charges and many others as needed. To start your search for a DUI attorney in Los Angeles, please contact us today.