Drivers who are accused of driving under the influence (DUI) in California are generally required to attend a formal hearing after their arrest. Failing to attend this hearing is considered a criminal act that can lead to fines and, in some situations, up to three years of time behind bars.
You can learn more about the exact requirements for attending your DUI hearing right here. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can help you review the penalties for failure to appear, the criminal charges you might face, and your legal options if you are accused of a DUI.
Criminal Charges for Failure to Appear
The court system in California generally uses Penal Code Section 1320 to prosecute individuals charged with failure to appear. You may face this charge if you are:
- Arrested for a DUI
- Kept in jail to receive your formal charges
- Informed of your DUI hearing date by a judge
- Released on your own recognizance AND
- You do not return to the court for your formal hearing
Note that you may only be released on your own recognizance if you were charged with a misdemeanor DUI. If you faced felony DUI charges, you might only be released on bail. You can still face failure to appear charges if you are released on bail and do not return for your formal hearing.
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Defining Being Released on Your Own Recognizance
As we mentioned, if you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI you could be released on your own recognizance until your formal hearing. This means that you will not have to post bail in order to leave police custody. You may also hear this referred to as an “O.R. release.” If released on your own recognizance, you will have to agree to:
- Stay in the state of California unless given permission to leave
- Appear in court as ordered
- Follow the conditions laid forth by the court
Drivers charged with a felony DUI are not generally released without bail. This means that you will have to post bail before you are released from police custody. In both of these cases, you must return for your formal hearing or you will face failure to appear charges.
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you if you are charged with failure to appear after facing either a misdemeanor or felony DUI accusation.
Penalties for Failure to Appear in California
Failure to appear at a DUI hearing can be prosecuted in different ways, depending upon the severity of your initial DUI charge. If you were charged with a misdemeanor DUI then you should face misdemeanor charges for failure to appear. A conviction could result in:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to six months
However, if you were charged with a felony DUI you will be charged with a felony for failure to appear. Felony convictions can lead to:
- Fines of up to $5,000
- Jail time of up to one year OR
- Prison time of up to three years
Note that, if you were released on bail for a felony charge and you did not appear for your hearing, your fines could increase to up to $10,000.
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Additional Results of DUI Charges in California
We’ve discussed the results of a failure to appear charge in California. You should be aware that you may also face penalties for your initial DUI arrest if you are convicted of failure to appear. Convictions for DUIs can lead to:
- Fines of up to $2,000
- Jail time of up to six months
- The suspension of your driver’s license for up to one year
Avoiding your formal trial will not help you successfully resolve DUI charges. You can meet these charges head-on, increasing your odds of avoiding a conviction, by contacting a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles right away after you are arrested.
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Handle Your DUI Hearing the Right Way
You don’t have to try to take on a DUI hearing or charges for failure to appear at a DUI hearing on your own. The team at the Simmrin Law Group can work on your defense if you are accused of these actions in California.
Let us investigate your case right now. We can get to work constructing your defense to help you avoid years of incarceration for failure to appear at a DUI hearing. Contact us now by calling (310) 997-4688 or completing our online contact form.
Our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles can provide you with a FREE consultation if you are accused of failure to appear or driving under the influence.