Call Me For Your Free, 20 Min Phone Consultation (310) 879-5616

A courtroom with rows of chairs and microphones.Appearing In Court

Generally, court appearances in a criminal case happen roughly once every 30 days. This timeframe may vary slightly, but it serves as a useful rule of thumb. In misdemeanor cases, defendants typically are not required to appear in court for each of these appearances.

On the other hand, in most felony cases, the defendant is typically required to attend every court appearance. If you are in this situation, be prepared for a potentially lengthy legal process — cases often extend for a year or more, and you’ll have to appear in court throughout most of the duration. For instance, if your case spans 18 months, you will likely have around 15 court appearances. Be proactive early on to anticipate and plan for these appearances as part of the overall process.

Know that some efforts can be made to accommodate your schedule, however. If, for example, you have specific days off, like Thursdays, steps can be taken to schedule your court appearances on those days. Judges and prosecutors often show some flexibility to ensure defendants can attend court hearings. The goal is to align your court appearances with your availability and for the process to be as manageable as possible. Whether it’s 30 days, 37 days, or 42 days between court appearances, efforts will be made to schedule them on days that are convenient for you, taking into account any specific preferences or constraints you may have.

Building Your Defense Between Court Dates

During the time between court dates, you can contribute to building a strong defense that will increase the likelihood of receiving the outcome you want. First and foremost, do not pick up any additional arrests. Maintain a low profile and drive defensively whenever you drive. Do not drive with a milliliter of alcohol in your system, and keep your driver’s license and insurance up to date.

It should go without saying: do not do anything that could result in a new criminal offense. This includes theft, involvement in domestic violence situations, or serious crimes. You have to remember that any new criminal indication could severely impact your current case.

Avoiding additional arrests is vital because if you were to pick up another charge while your case is pending, it could lead to a reassessment of your bail in the existing case. Judges may view new arrests as evidence that you are a potential threat to public safety, which could result in bail being revoked, even if the second offense is unrelated to the first.

Additionally, take initiative that shows you recognize what you did was wrong and that you are committed to turning things around, as much as you possibly can, without the court ordering you to. An example of this is if you were arrested for DUI with a high blood alcohol concentration, voluntarily participate in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) sessions. Similarly, if your case involves reckless driving, sign up for community service, such as volunteering at a hospital or soup kitchen. If there are mental health issues, attending counseling regularly and obtaining letters from your therapist confirming your commitment to therapy can help you down the road.

Taking proactive steps to address issues relevant to your case, even before the court orders you to do so, demonstrates responsibility and a commitment to self-improvement. For instance, willingly attending AA sessions may be particularly impactful. If the judge later recommends a certain number of sessions per week, being able to present proof that you were already attending at that frequency can significantly aid your defense. It may even provide room for negotiation in certain circumstances, allowing for more favorable terms or even the eventual outcome of your case.

Prior Arrests Or Convictions

The impact of prior arrests or convictions on your current case depends on various factors, namely the nature of the prior offense(s) and the current crime you’ve been charged with. If you have a history of committing the same crime repeatedly, the penalties tend to escalate with each subsequent conviction. Using DUIs as an example, a first-time offense may not result in jail time, but a second DUI conviction could lead to at least four days of jail, and a third DUI comes with a minimum of 30 days behind bars. The severity of penalties increases with each repetition of the same offense.

This holds true for other offenses, such as domestic violence. Repeated incidents of domestic violence generally lead to more severe consequences, with escalating penalties for each subsequent conviction. The principle remains consistent for severe offenses; if you’re arrested for a second or third time for a significant crime, the penalties are likely to be more severe.

Having prior convictions for different types of offenses can also impact the penalties for your current case. For instance, someone accused of domestic violence with a prior DUI conviction might face harsher penalties compared to someone with no DUI conviction in their past. This is often due to the fact that judges and prosecutors take into consideration a defendant’s history when determining the appropriate punishment. Right or wrong, having prior convictions, even for unrelated offenses, can influence how you are perceived within the legal system.

For more information on Court Appearances In A Criminal Case, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (310) 879-5616 today.

Accessibility Accessibility
× Accessibility Menu CTRL+U