Individuals in California face criminal charges if they fail to appear in court when so ordered. Penal Codes 1320 and 1320.5 both cover the charge of a failure to appear. PC 1320 deals with failure to appear when someone is released on their own recognizance, whereas PC 1320.5 deals with the failure to appear when released on bail.
The Simmrin Law Group can help with both PC 1320 and 1320.5 charges. Contact us by calling (310) 896-2723.
Penal Code 1320 in California
Both PC 1320 and 1320.5 deal with the failure to appear in court. However, there are slight differences between these two charges. Individuals can face PC 1320 charges if they are released on their own recognizance after being charged with or convicted of a crime.
Individuals can face this charge no matter whether their underlying charges are misdemeanors or felonies. Individuals face this charge if they fail to return to court after they are released. They must also act with the intention to evade the court to be convicted under PC 1320.
Defining Recognizance in California
Getting released on your own recognizance means that you promise to return to court when ordered. Generally, individuals have to sign an agreement before their release.
Individuals must follow the rules while released on their own recognizance. They must appear in court, stay in the state, and follow other court conditions. Else, they risk further consequences, including possible jail time.
Penal Code 1320.5 in California
Individuals can also face charges for failure to appear under PC 1320.5. PC 1320.5 only handles individuals who fail to appear while facing a felony charge. Also, PC 1320.5 charges apply if someone is released on bail and fails to return to court.
PC 1320.5 is always treated as a felony in California. PC 1320, on the other hand, can be treated as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Get more information about fighting both of these charges with the Simmrin Law Group by calling (310) 896-2723.
Penalties for Failure to Appear in California
Failure to appear charges are not always penalized the same way here in California. In fact, the penalties vary based on the specific charge the accused faces. For instance, individuals can face:
Penalties for a Misdemeanor PC 1320 Offense
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to six months
Penalties for a Felony PC 1320 Offense
- Fines of up to $5,000
- Prison time of up to three years
Penalties for a PC 1320.5 Offense
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Prison time of up to three years
Additional Penalties for Failure to Appear
There are other penalties associated with failure to appear in certain cases. For example, individuals can face an automatic $300 fine if they do not appear in court. This fine is levied under Penal Code 1214.1. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can provide you with more information about how to fight this charge.
Defenses for Failure to Appear Accusations
There are many possible defenses if you are accused of a failure to appear in California. Your lawyer could help you build your defense by arguing that:
You Did Not Willfully Fail to Appear
You should only face a conviction for failure to appear if you purposefully avoided going to court. This means you may be able to avoid a conviction if you accidentally missed a court date. We live in a busy world, and sometimes individuals forget about their appointments. This can also extend to court dates.
You Were Prevented from Appearing in Court
Sometimes, circumstances beyond your control can prevent you from getting to court. For example, say you were involved in an emergency situation, like a car accident. This could keep you from appearing in court for a legitimate reason. Inform your lawyer of this situation so he or she can argue your case accordingly.
Talk to a Lawyer Today About Fighting Failure to Appear Charges in California
Want help handling Penal Code 1320 or 1320.5 charges? Contact the Simmrin Law Group and talk to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles today. We’ll help you if you are being accused of a failure to appear in court. Just reach out to us for a free consultation by calling (310) 896-2723. You can also fill out our online contact form.