Am I facing a misdemeanor for failure to appear in court? 10 Answers as of June 26, 2013

I had a traffic ticket that occurred 10-18-2010. I had a court date of 12/8/2010. My sister was getting married that week so i filled out an extension form on the superior court website. They penciled me in for may 5th 2011. I missed that date because I had to work that day and I forgot. I filled out a form online the next day that assigned me a court date of August 4th. I went in a couple of days early... August 2nd because I have to go out of town on business. Turns out in addition to the traffic ticket, I have a failure to appear from the May 5th date. I plead not guilty to both charges for the failure to appear and the original traffic violation (I could no plead to the charges individually in arraingment). So now, I get to go to court on November 2nd. According to the court, I had 5 days from the 5th of May to address my absence from the court on that day. Doesn't filling out the form online on May 6th constitute that? Am I facing misdemeanor failure to appear?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
Yes you are being charged with a misdemeanor failure to appear. On your next court date is the time to present your reasons and what you did do. If you have copies of the e-mail take that with you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/5/2011
Lowenstein Law Office
Lowenstein Law Office | Anthony Lowenstein
It depends on several factors.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/26/2013
Law Office of Andrew Roberts
Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
No you had to appear. Did you get the hold lifted from your license. You might be driving with a suspended license. Call me with any questions. You should retain an attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/4/2011
The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco
The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco | Victor J Mazzaraco
I'm not aware of an on-line form you can fill out to rectify a FTA. I believe what the court means is you had to appear in person within 5 days of your scheduled appearance to get it excused. Perhaps you misunderstood the effect the form you completed would have? That's past - here's what you should do...Get proof of everything you say - that your sister got married when the original date was scheduled and that's why you extended it; the form you completed the 6th of May; that you were indeed at work the day you missed. Then argue the "willful" element required for a conviction of misdemeanor FTA is lacking - you didn't miss "willfully" but accidentally." I have to tell you the case law does not view an excuse of "I forgot" as significant enough to excuse the FTA. Even though honestly forgetting the date does negate the "willful" requirement. But all that means is if the judge wants to convict you he can and won't be overturned on appeal; it doesn't mean he can't buy your explanation, like you, and dismiss the FTA in he interests of justice. He can. And I'm betting he will if you take my advice and act humble and apologetic. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/4/2011
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
There is no presumption at 5 days. Also, if count is the agency that "filed" the FTA, challenge on the basis of separation of powers. (Prosecution decides what cases to pursue, not the court. Hire a traffic attorney. : 209-235-0217
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/4/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    IT depends. When you failed to appear the court could have added a misdemeanor failure to appear charge. To be safe you should retain an experienced law firm that handles traffic matters on a regular basis.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    Your attorney will be able to resolve the failure to appear. Once the traffic ticket is resolved the failure to appear will be dismissed. Since there is the possibility that you are now facing a misdemeanor do yourself a favor and hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Possibly. Consider having an attorney to go to court to get the FTA dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Yes, FTA is taken seriously by the court, that is why you face a new charge for it, but dont get overly worried about this. When you appear in court on the ticket, the court will listen to your excuses, and probably fine you a modest amount as punishment for the FTA, then deal with the ticket fines separately. Take your checkbook, not your toothbrush. I wouldnt suggest you dispute and take the ticket to trial, not if front of the judge already annoyed with you for the FTA. You could ask for traffic school if qualified.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    You are not likely facing a misdemeanor. This is a civil assessment for a failure to appear on a traffic citation. You will be looking at a $300 fine on top of whatever your other fines are. However, if you contest this at trial, you can explain your situation and the judge might waive the $300 civil assessment. However, you did miss court and a judge may be upset with all the extra dates that your case had.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/4/2011
Click to View More Answers: