24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196

AS SEEN ON

EXPERIENCEDTop Rated

YOU MAY HAVE SEEN TODD SPODEK ON THE NETFLIX SHOW
INVENTING ANNA

When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

Client Testimonials

5

THE BEST LAWYER ANYONE COULD ASK FOR.

The BEST LAWYER ANYONE COULD ASK FOR!!! Todd changed our lives! He’s not JUST a lawyer representing us for a case. Todd and his office have become Family. When we entered his office in August of 2022, we entered with such anxiety, uncertainty, and so much stress. Honestly we were very lost. My husband and I felt alone. How could a lawyer who didn’t know us, know our family, know our background represents us, When this could change our lives for the next 5-7years that my husband was facing in Federal jail. By the time our free consultation was over with Todd, we left his office at ease. All our questions were answered and we had a sense of relief.

schedule a consultation

Blog

Penal Code 853.7 PC | Violating a Written Promise to Appear

Penal Code 853.7 PC | Violating a Written Promise to Appear

Getting arrested can be a scary, overwhelming experience. The police put you in handcuffs, take your fingerprints, and lock you in a cell. After what feels like forever, they let you out and hand you a piece of paper – a written promise to appear. This promise sets a date for you to come back to court and face the charges against you. Seems simple enough, right? Just show up on your court date. Well, many people panic or forget and end up missing their court date altogether. Now your failure to appear lands you in even more trouble. This article will break down California Penal Code 853.7 PC and the consequences for violating a written promise to appear.

What is a Written Promise to Appear?

Let’s start with the basics. A written promise to appear – sometimes called a “notice to appear” or “citation” – is a document that police give you after an arrest. It has important information like:

  • Your name and address
  • The charges against you
  • Instructions to appear in court on a specific date & time
  • Amount of bail (money you pay as a guarantee to return to court)

By signing this promise to appear, you agree to come back to court on the date listed to face the criminal charges. If you fail to appear, you violate the agreement and commit a new crime under California Penal Code 853.7 PC.

Elements of Violating a Written Promise to Appear

To be convicted under Penal Code 853.7 PC, the prosecutor must prove the following elements:

  1. You were arrested and released on a written promise to appear, OR released on bail;
  2. You willfully failed to appear within 30 days of your scheduled court date; AND
  3. The court clerk has mailed notice to your last known address telling you to appear.

Let’s break these down…

You Were Released on a Written Promise to Appear or Bail

First, police must have actually released you from custody. This means handing you a notice to appear or allowing you to post bail. Bail is money or property you give the court as collateral to let you out of jail until your court date.

You Willfully Failed to Appear Within 30 Days

Next, you must have intentionally missed your scheduled court date. Accidentally forgetting doesn’t count. The prosecutor has to show you willfully failed to appear in court within 30 days of your assigned date.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Let’s say the police arrested you for shoplifting on March 1 and gave you a notice to appear in court on March 15. If you don’t show up to your March 15 court date, you’ve willfully failed to appear within 30 days. But if you appear on March 20 instead, you should be fine because it’s still within 30 days of March 15.

The Court Clerk Mailed Notice to Your Last Known Address

Finally, the court clerk must have mailed you a notice saying you missed your court date and need to appear immediately. This gives you a chance to fix the situation before getting charged with violating a written promise to appear.

The clerk will mail the notice to your last known address, according to the police report from your arrest. Make sure cops have your current, correct address when they book you. Otherwise, you may never get the notice to appear and end up getting charged for not showing up to a court date you didn’t know about.

Penalties for Violating a Written Promise to Appear

Breaking your promise to appear in court is a misdemeanor in California. Penalties include:

  • Up to $1,000 in fines;
  • Up to 6 months in county jail; and/or
  • Informal probation up to 3 years.

The judge looks at your criminal history when deciding exactly how to punish you. No prior record? You’ll probably get fines and informal probation. But if you have a rap sheet filled with other FTAs (failures to appear), the judge might throw the book at you with jail time.

Common Defenses

Fighting these charges? Try one of these common defenses:

You Didn’t Willfully Fail to Appear

Forgetting isn’t a crime. If you legitimately forgot about your court date or mixed up the day, you didn’t willfully fail to appear. Bring evidence showing your failure to appear was a mistake, not intentional. Things like:

  • Notebooks or calendars showing you wrote down the wrong date
  • Receipts proving you were out-of-town and planned to be back for your court date
  • Doctor’s notes verifying you were hospitalized and couldn’t make it to court

You Never Got the Court Clerk’s Notice to Appear

It’s not your fault if the court clerk sent the notice to the wrong address. If you can show you never received mail telling you to appear in court, you shouldn’t be convicted. Bring evidence like:

  • A copy of the police report with your incorrect address
  • Mail returned to the court clerk as undeliverable
  • Witnesses who will testify the clerk used the wrong address

You Appeared Within a Reasonable Time

The law gives you a 30-day grace period after your scheduled court date before charging you with violating a written promise. If you appeared within a reasonable time, it shows you didn’t willfully fail to appear. For example, if you show up to court:

  • 5 days late because of a family emergency
  • 18 days late because you were hospitalized
  • 24 days late because you were out-of-town and returned as soon as possible

These may be valid excuses for missing your exact court date but making a reasonable effort to appear soon after.

Related Offenses

Violating a notice to appear often leads to additional charges like:

Failure to Appear – Penal Code 1320 PC

Penal Code 1320 PC is a broader failure to appear law. It makes it a crime to miss court on:

  • A felony case;
  • A misdemeanor case after your arraignment hearing;
  • A traffic misdemeanor case; OR
  • A violation of misdemeanor probation case.

Penal Code 1320 is harsher than 853.7 PC. It can be filed as a felony or misdemeanor and penalties are steeper – up to 3 years in jail.

Bench Warrant for Arrest

When you fail to appear, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. This bench warrant orders police to take you into custody on sight and haul you to court. Even if the charges get dropped later, you still have to deal with the hassle of getting arrested and posting bail on the warrant.

Stay Out of Trouble: Tips for Making Your Court Date

Getting arrested is stressful enough – don’t make it worse by missing your court date. Here are some tips:

  • Double check the date & time. When you get released, verify the court date written on your notice to appear. Double check it matches what the officer told you. Immediately put it in your calendar or set phone alerts so you don’t forget.
  • Update your address. Make sure cops have your current, correct address so you get any notices mailed by the court clerk.
  • Find your courthouse. Locate the exact courthouse address where you have to appear so you don’t show up to the wrong place.
  • Arrange transportation. Figure out how you’ll get to court – whether driving yourself, getting a ride, or taking public transit.
  • Take time off work. Tell your boss you need the day off to appear in court. Don’t schedule business trips or vacations around your court date.
  • Wake up early. Set your alarm and give yourself plenty of time to get ready and arrive early. Long lines and traffic happen.
  • Watch your health. Try to stay healthy leading up to your court date so you don’t get sick. But if you do get injured or hospitalized, get medical documentation.
  • Review your case. Talk to your criminal defense attorney about the charges so you know what to expect in court.

Following these tips will help you successfully appear in court and avoid additional charges for violating your written promise. One mistake can spiral into more legal troubles – so take your notice to appear seriously.

Get Help Fighting These Charges

Dealing with California’s complicated criminal justice system is confusing. Don’t go at it alone. The experienced attorneys at the Shouse California Law Group understand how violating a written promise to appear works. We will analyze your case and build the strongest defense to get your charges reduced or dismissed. Don’t wait – contact our lawyers today to schedule your free consultation.

 

Lawyers You Can Trust

Todd Spodek

Founding Partner

view profile

RALPH P. FRANCHO, JR

Associate

view profile

JEREMY FEIGENBAUM

Associate Attorney

view profile

ELIZABETH GARVEY

Associate

view profile

CLAIRE BANKS

Associate

view profile

RAJESH BARUA

Of-Counsel

view profile

CHAD LEWIN

Of-Counsel

view profile

Criminal Defense Lawyers Trusted By the Media

schedule a consultation
Schedule Your Consultation Now