Criminal Charges and Why Your Location Matters

Have a criminal charge but live in another state? Read below to find out what you should do and what might happen if you choose to do nothing.

“What will happen if I don’t show up in court?”

You may have been charged with a misdemeanor in the state of California while on vacation.  You consequently leave a few days later back to your home state of Michigan. You might assume that these charges can’t possibly apply because you aren’t a resident of the state of California.  Wrong. It is very important to comply with the enforcement agency in the region you are visiting. If not, it’s probable that a judge will parcel out some severe penalties. 

Will I have to travel back and forth?”

This will depend on the type of misdemeanor or felony you have committed. 

Examples of Common Misdemeanor Charges in California 

  1. DUI 
  2. Possession of certain drugs for personal use 
  3. Shoplifting or theft of property up to $950 (guns not included)
  4. Simple assault or battery that doesn’t involve a deadly weapon or result in a serious injury
  5. Drunk in public
  6. Indecent Exposure

Examples of Common Felony Charges in California

  1. DUI Causing injury to another person
  2. Robbery (from a person)
  3. Drug Sales
  4. Theft of more than  $950
  5. Vandalism causing damage in excess of $950
  6. Residential Burglary 

With a misdemeanor charge, a local attorney will be able to represent you in court. This will save you an enormous amount of money on travel expenses.  

However, with a felony charge, it is required that you attend each hearing and will not be allowed to leave the state.  Bail will be required. You will forfeit the bail and the court will issue a warrant for your arrest if you do not appear in court as ordered.  

There are also charges known as a “wobbler offenses” which the prosecutor can choose to charge as a misdemeanor or a felony.  These include child endangerment, DUI with injury, theft offenses, etc. 

Schedule your free consultation today. Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Joni Eisenstein.

So you’re saying I should hire an attorney?”

Yes. Absolutely. It’s important to hire a local attorney in the area of your charge because they will be able to represent you appropriately in court.  Not only this, but they will be keen on the nuances and specifics of the laws of the State you are visiting as this is where they are licensed. An experienced lawyer is key for your success.  They will be able to answer any questions you may have throughout the process.  

“What if I need to travel during my pending charges?”

When it comes to traveling with pending charges, this will be dependent on what your charges consist of.  This will depend on the local laws, and the type of misdemeanor or felony you have committed.  

Generally speaking, you should be allowed to travel with a misdemeanor.  However, it’s important to seek guidance from a local attorney before doing so.  If you have had previous charges, this may affect your ability to travel.  

Felony charges restrict you from leaving the area where the case is pending.  This may even include staying in the exact county where the crime was committed.  

If you are on the fence about hiring a defense attorney, stop thinking about it, and do it now

Hiring a criminal defense attorney like Joni Eisenstein can help you go from a place of uncertainty to freedom.