What will happen with a misdemeanor for being in a CA park after it's closed? 7 Answers as of March 16, 2011

I'm 18 and on Saturday me and 4 of my friends who are 17/18 got a citation for being in a park after it's close at 9:15 PM (unknown to us since the park is more like a hill) before curfew. All we were doing was sitting and talking, laughing having earlier gone to a local restaurant after which we decided to stop by the park to see the views, not knowing it was illegal to do so. There were no drugs, no alcohol, nothing prohibited whatsoever. None of us, including myself, were under the influence of anything. We were quite simply sitting and talking in a group. My citation says "Violation in Park after Dark, signs posted."

It's my first ticket and I have a court date. I have never before had any citations or infractions nor have I had any involvement with the Police prior to this event, and I am quite honestly nervous. I am wondering if this is will be a serious issue, and if it can be dismissed, expunged or will I have to plead guilty in order to avoid anything serious. I'm concerned about my record since it is my first time being citied and involved with the courts. Will it scar my record? Which would potentially create problems in the future. I plan on simply explaining myself to the judge.

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Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
If there is no aggression with the charges, you should be able to get it reduced to a misdemeanor.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/16/2011
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
You are eighteen years old, and are being prosecuted as an adult. I would not bother to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and then worry about a so-called 'expungement'. It is not a good enough remedy. Push for a dismissal, or no more than an Infraction (e.g., Penal Code section 415(2), as an Infraction). Request the services of the Public Defender if you cannot afford to hire a private Attorney. Refuse to plead to a misdemeanor. It would not be fair and would have a negative consequence to your future.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/8/2011
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
What will happen?

When charged with a misdemeanor, you potentially face up to 6-12 months in jail and fines, etc. on each count. With such a small violation, jail is highly unlikely unless there are unusual factors. Effective plea-bargaining, using whatever legal defenses, facts and sympathies there may be, could possibly keep you out of jail, depending upon all the facts and evidence. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, reduction or other decent outcome through plea bargain for you, or take it to trial.

Yes, a conviction is on your permanent record that will have consequences. It could later be expunged though after any probation is over. If serious about doing so, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. If you can't afford private counsel, you can apply for the Public Defender.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/8/2011
The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco
The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco | Victor J Mazzaraco
Some cops simply have too much time on their hands...go to court and tell the judge the park is more like a hill, and the rest of what you wrote here. Explain your concern and request a dismissal in the interests of justice. Where is the sign designating the hill a park posted? Have you ever seen it? Look for it, and if you find it and it is in an obscure location photograph it and bring the photo to court to explain you didn't know you were in a park.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/8/2011
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
Don't worry, it's just a citation which is the equivalent of a ticket. If I were you, I'd set it for trial. If the officer doesn't show for trial you automatically win. If he does show, have a quick trial and tell your side of the story - you may win. Even if you lose, it's just a fine, no record. You can also hire an attorney to do all this for you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/7/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    A misdemeanor conviction, although as stated above is not as serious as a felony, is still a criminal conviction and should be taken seriously as a misdemeanor conviction can have lasting effects including a criminal record, and potential employment issues.I would recommend consulting with an attorney in more detail about your case to discuss potential options in more detail. This should not be an issue of keeping you out of jail, but more to keep the conviction off your record. You can contact me through should you have additional questions about this.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/7/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    You should get the Public Defender or a lawyer if you can afford it. I cannot imagine anything serious happening and hopefully a decent DA will simply dismiss it if you or your lawyer can show him the facts - that you were unaware of the Park being closed, no drinking, no doping, etc. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/7/2011
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