VC40508A . A person willfully violating his or her written promise to appear or a lawfully granted continuance of his or her promise to appear in court or before a person authorized to receive a deposit of bail is guilty of a misdemeanor regardless of the disposition of the charge upon which he or she was originally arrested.
If you were stopped for a traffic violation and cited by the police officer, you will have a date in court. If you do not come to court, the court will file a separate charge against you in addition to the charges observed by the officer at the time of the stop. The additional charge is a violation of California Vehicle Code section 40508A, commonly known as a “failure to appear”. VC40508a can be filed as an infraction or a misdemeanor. Most courts file VC 40508a as a misdemeanor. An infraction is a type of offense for which jail time can not be imposed. A misdemeanor can be punished by jail time of up to 1 year.
In the case of VC 40508(a), the maximum punishment for such a misdemeanor is up to 6 months in the county jail as provided in California Penal Code section 18.
In other words, a California Vehicle Code 40508 violation can result in a criminal case with potential jail exposure where you will need to hire a Los Angeles criminal lawyer to fight your case.
Any misdemeanor entitles a person to a jury trial. A jury trial for a criminal case in California requires 12 jurors to unanimously reach a verdict for a conviction or an acquittal. The jury instruction for VC40508a is found in California Criminal Jury Instruction 2240, abbreviated CALCRIM 2240. CALCRIM 2240 instructs that to prove that you violated VC 40508a, the prosecutor must prove that
(1) you received a citation,
(2) that you signed a written promise to appear in court,
(3) and you willfully failed to appear in court.
“Willfully” is defined in California Penal Code section 7 as:
The word “willfully,” when applied to the intent with which an act is done or omitted, implies simply a purpose or willingness to commit the act, or make the omission referred to. It does not require any intent to violate law, or to injure another, or to acquire any advantage.
In addition to the possible jail time, a violation of California Vehicle Code section 40508a carries a base fine of up to $1,000.00. The base fines do not include mandatory penalties and assessments, which make any fine much larger. The court also has the authority to issue a bench warrant when you do not come to court in violation of VC 40508a, which can result in you being arrested by a police officer.
In reality, Los Angeles failure to appear in court on an infraction citation will rarely result in a misdemeanor conviction or a bench warrant. In the experience of Los Angeles DUI lawyers, most Los Angeles Superior courts will allow a defendant accused of a failure to appear to plead to an infraction. However, often, this is not a desired outcome. For example, a willful failure to appear can be considered in employment applications and in a moral characteristics determination. Los Angeles DUI attorney recommends pleading to a failure to appear only when all options are evaluated, no defenses exist, and all negotiations with the court fail. Also, a failure to appear will be reported by California DMV and it will remain on the driving record for 5 years. A failure to appear might be a public record, allowing your employer or government officials to pull the record and use it to deny benefits or employment.
Los Angeles DUI attorney handled hundreds of VC 40508a violations and can successfully defend you in court for this, often unfair charge. DUI attorney Los Angeles got numerous dismissals of California Vehicle Code section 40508(a), often, getting dismissal of the original violations also. Call our (818) 921 7744 office to talk to an attorney directly. We pride ourselves on being available to our clients by telephone at random hours, after hours, and just whenever Los Angeles DUI lawyer is not in court or in a hearing. We are known to provide free consultation lawyer services to all potential new clients. Our years of experience allow us to get the best possible deal or go to trial on a case we believe we can win. We can provide quality representation at an affordable price.