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I've Been Charged with a Crime. Do I Have to Show up to Court?

For Felony Offenses:

If you have been charged with a felony, the answer is yes. Failure to appear on a felony offense will result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest and, if you are out on bail, your bail will be forfeited.

For Misdemeanor Offenses:

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor and you do not have an attorney, you must also show up to court on the date scheduled. Failure to do so will result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest and, if you are out on bail, your bail will be forfeited.

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor and you already have an attorney, you can give your attorney permission to appear on your behalf. This is called a 977 appearance. As long as you give your attorney permission to appear for you, Penal Code 977 permits your attorney to appear on your behalf without you present in most cases.

Penal Code 977 Exceptions:

If you have been charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, you must still appear on the first court date, also known as an arraignment. You cannot give your attorney 977 authority to appear on your behalf at arraignments for domestic violence. If the judge for any reason orders you to appear at a court date, you cannot give your attorney 977 authority to appear for you.

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