Bench Warrant Recalled for Client on a Vehicle Code section 23152(f) Offense in Which the Court Requested the Defendant’s Appearance!

Our client was initially arrested in September of last year for alleged violations of Vehicle Code section 23152(f), “Driving Under the Influence of Drugs,” Health and Safety Code section 11377, “Possession of Methamphetamine,” Health and Safety Code section 11350, “Possession of a Controlled Substance,” and Health and Safety Code section 11364, “Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.”

Our client was formally charged with these violations in November of last year and his case was put on calendar for Arraignment on the charges. Prior to retaining our office to represent him on these charges, our client failed to appear at this arraignment date and a bench warrant for his arrest was issued.

Recently, the defendant hired our office to represent him on this matter. We placed his matter on calendar to recall the bench warrant that had been issued and to plead not guilty to the charges. However, our office was informed that the court would require our client’s personal presence in order to recall the bench warrant.

Generally, pursuant to Penal Code section 977(a), counsel may appear in court on a defendant’s behalf. However, for certain offenses, including driving under the influence, the court has the discretion, “in an appropriate case,” to order the personal appearance of the defendant in court on the Arraignment or at the time of the plea or sentencing. (Cal. Penal Code section 977(a)(3).

After speaking to our client, we were informed that the reason he failed to appear at his Arraignment was because he had serious health issues that resulted in open heart surgery, which he has been recovering from since December of last year. We asked our client to gather documentation detailing his hospitalizations and medical diagnoses. Once we received these documents, we wrote a motion to the court attaching the documents as exhibits and explaining that at the time of our client’s Arraignment he was hospitalized awaiting heart surgery and has been recovering out of state since that date.

At the bench warrant recall hearing the court inquired into why our client was not present. We explained that the client had undergone heart surgery and was out of state recovering. The court requested documentation to substantiate our claims. We then provided the court with our motion. After reading the motion, the court recalled the bench warrant and allowed our office to appear on his behalf pursuant to Penal Code section 977.

This court has a reputation for only recalling bench warrants with the personal presence of the defendant. As a result of our thorough preparation for the hearing, we were able to persuade the court to recall the bench warrant despite the fact that our client was out of state and not personally present before the court.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Escovar & Avila, LLP or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction. The information on this website is a communication and is for informational purposes only. The facts of every case are unique and nothing on this page or on this website should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information on this website is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and viewing of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. The result portrayed in this advertisement was dependent on the facts of this case. Results will differ if based on different facts.