When a person pleads guilty or no contest to a felony or misdemeanor and is placed on probation, the defendant is ordered to follow all laws, orders, and rules of the court. In Los Angeles County, a defendant that pleads to a misdemeanor, is generally placed on summary probation for a period of 12, 24 or 36 months. Summary probation is informal and it does not require the defendant to report to a probation officer. Felony probation, sometimes called formal probation, requires the defendant to report to a probation officer within 24 hours from his release from court or custody.
During the probationary period, if the defendant fails to comply with the terms of the probation agreement, the court or the probation officer may violate him or her. A defendant can be violated for obtaining a new case, failing to provide proof of completion, failing to register for community service or community labor, failing a drug or alcohol class, or any other noncompliance of a probationary term.
If the court violates the defendant on a probation violation, the defendant is entitled to a probationary hearing. Pursuant to Penal Code 1203.3, the court has authority to revoke, modify, suspend, or reinstate the defendant for violating his probationary terms. If a defendant picks up a new case or fails to comply, a court may revoke the defendant’s probation and hold the defendant in custody pending a probation revocation hearing. If the defendant obtains a new case, in violation of his probation on his or her previous case, then the court may withhold sentencing on the old case pending the outcome of the new case. Sometimes the court will set a probation violation hearing for the old case and any statements made in the probation violation hearing may affect the new case. Therefore, it is imperative to hire a qualified and experienced attorney who knows how to reinstate the defendant back on probation while resolving the allegations on the new case.
If you have a probation violation for a misdemeanor or felony case in Los Angeles Superior Court, call attorney Arthur Khachatourians for a defense consultation.
When a defendant misses a court appearance, the court will issue a bench warrant for the defendant’s arrest. Depending on the gravity of the charges, the bench warrant can range from $5000.00 and up. The district attorney or the city attorney may also charge the defendant with an additional count for failing to appear pursuant to Penal Code 1320 or Penal Code 1320.5. Pursuant to California Penal Code section 1320, it is a misdemeanor or a felony to willfully evade a court appearance. California Penal Code Section 1320.5 also states that any person who is charged with or convicted of a felony, and then is released on own recognizance or posts bail who subsequently willfully evades the court process by failing to appear, is guilty of a felony. California Vehicle Code 40508(a) also provides that if a person willfully violates his or her written promise to appear or a lawfully granted continuance of his or her promise to appear in court is guilty of a misdemeanor regardless of the disposition of the charge upon which he or she was originally arrested.
When a person is charged with a conviction or convicted of a crime and then he or she is released from custody or posts bail or placed on probation, the defendant still must continue to make his or her court appearances. If the defendant is ordered to return to court or provide proof of completion of his or her probationary terms to the clerk’s office and willfully fails to appear, the defendant may be charged with a separate felony or a misdemeanor. There is a presumption in the law that if the defendant who willfully fails to appear within 14 days of the date assigned for his or her court appearance, intended to evade the process of the court. The Khachatourians Law Group has successfully quashed numerous bench warrants and dismissed failure to appear cases. Some possible defense are:
- Defendant did not willfully evade the court appearance;
- Defendant calendared the matter for the wrong date;
- The clerk provided the wrong date and the record reflects non pro tunc;
- The former attorney representing the defendant was going to appear on the misdemeanor case pursuant to Penal Code 977;
- There was a misunderstanding as to the date;
- Mitigating circumstances that shows the defendant did not willfully evade the court appearance.
The Khachatourians Law Group handles bench warrant and failure to appear cases in Inglewood Courthouse, Van Nuys Court, LAX Courthouse, Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena Court as well as throughout the various courthouses in Los Angeles and Orange County. If you have already pled guilty or no contest and have failed to comply with your probationary terms and are afraid of going to court, call attorney Arthur Khachatourians.