What are the factors or elements for 1320 & 1320.5 PC Failure to Appear
You may be charged with the crime of “failure to appear” (“FTA”) in California if:
- You are charged with or convicted of a California crime,
- You are released from custody, and
- You willfully fail to appear in court when required to do so, in order to evade the process of the court.
California Penal Code 1320 sets out the crime of “failing to appear” for defendants who are released on their own recognizance. Penal Code 1320.5 describes “failure to appear” for California defendants who are released on bail.
The penalties for failure to appear in California depend on the type of crime you were initially charged with or convicted of.
If you are charged with or convicted of a California misdemeanor and released on your own recognizance, then failure to appear is a misdemeanor.4 The penalties include up to six (6) months in county jail, and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000).5
But if you are either:
- Charged with or convicted of a felony, and released on your own recognizance, OR
- Charged with or convicted of a felony, and released on bail, then failure to appear will be a felony in California law.
Potential penalties include:
- a fine of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) if you were released on your own recognizance, or ten thousand dollars ($10,000) if you were released on bail,
- a county jail sentence of up to one (1) year, and/or
- a prison sentence of sixteen (16) months or two (2) or three (3) years.7
In any of these cases, a judge will issue a California bench warrant for your arrest on failure to appear charges.
How can we defend you against charges of Failure to Appear California Penal Code 1320 & 1320.5 PC Failure to Appear?
Failing to appear may seem like a pretty straightforward crime. But in fact there are several legal defenses you can use to fight these charges.
- You did not willfully fail to appear when you were required to do so;
- You did not have the required specific intent (to evade the process of the court);and
- You did not sign an agreement when you were released on your own recognizance.
We have been successfully defending clients facing all types of criminal charges in Sonoma and Marin Counties, since 1992.
The 100 Trial Lawyers Association has recognized us as one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the country!
Please call our office today at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.
Don’t bargain with your freedom! The right attorney makes all the difference between your freedom and incarceration!