Failing to Appear in a California Misdemeanor or Felony CaseLos Angeles criminal defendant fled a Long Beach courthouse at a hearing wherein he was told he was facing charges of aggravated mayhem which could lead to a 15 years to life prison sentence in a California State prison.  Abel Munguia was in court on a hearing while out of custody on bail facing assault with a deadly weapon charges for stabbing a woman.  While in Court and wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet, he was informed that another felony charge was to be added for felony mayhem.  After hearing the bad news, Mr. Munguia fled the court room and cut off his monitoring bracelet which he had to wear as a condition of his bail.  Mr. Munguia is now a fugitive and will face additional California criminal charges when caught including a felony charge of committing a felony while out on bail.  When a person out on bail commits a new crime, serious consequences can arise and it is always best to consult with a California criminal attorney who has the experience to defend criminal charges with potential significant consequences.


1.       Committing a Crime in California While Out on Bail


Pursuant to California Penal Code §12022.1 a defendant who commits another crime while out of custody on bail or on their own recognizance will be subject to a “penalty enhancement of an additional two years in state prison” which term shall be served consecutively to the underlying sentence to the original charges as imposed by a California Superior Court judge.   In the Munguia matter, the defendant was facing a 15 year to life sentence and if convicted he would have another 2 years added to his sentence for committing another crime while out on bond.


2.       Failing to Appear While Released on Bond in a California Felony Case 


If you are released on bond in a California felony case and you fail to appear at a subsequent appearance, you may face additional criminal charges.  Specifically, California Penal Code section 1320.5 provides if a defendant is charged with a felony and released on bond and fails to appear at a required court appearance, they are guilty of a felony.  The penal on a felony failure to appear includes a fine of up to $10,000.00 and a potential sentence of 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in a California state prison.


If a person fails to appear while out on their own recognizance in a California felony prosecution, the face a fine of up to $5000.00 and the same potential prison sentence of 16 mos, 2 or 3 years in state prison.  However, a violation of Penal Code section 1320.5 is a wobbler meaning that a defendant could be charged with a violation as a misdemeanor and face a lesser fine and a maximum of one year in a county jail whether your case is filed in Los Angeles, Palmdale, Pasadena, Ontario or any other city in California.


3.        Failing to Appear on Misdemeanor Charges in California


California Penal Code section 1320 makes it a misdemeanor when you fail to appear on a misdemeanor criminal charge in California and you have been released on your own recognizance.  Most times when a Defendant fails to appear in a misdemeanor case a court will issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the defendant.

The maximum penalties for failing to appear when released OR in a misdemeanor case is up to 6 months in jail and a $1000.00 fine.

Often times a California criminal attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor and/or request the court to recall a warrant and get a failure to appear charge dismissed.  Court’s will consider mitigating circumstances which will be helpful in getting a successful result.

If you or a loved one is facing charges as a result of failing to appear in a misdemeanor or felony case in California, please contact Leib Law for a free consultation at (844) 210-1701.