What Happens if I am Not a Resident of California But Face a Criminal Sentence in California?

California has it all, good weather, great mountains, and lots of things to see and do. It is a popular tourist destination. But what happens when you are visiting the Golden State and are charged and convicted with a criminal offense? What happens if you are sentenced to minimal jail time in California, or are ordered to complete rehabilitation classes in California? It hardly makes sense that you move to California for that time period or commute to weekly classes.

It is important to understand that this is something that happens quite often, but it is not a hopeless situation. You are given the same rights to argue and defend yourself against a criminal charge whether you live in the state or not. You are not forced to immediately plead guilty without a chance to be heard so that your case is completed sooner rather than later.

A Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney has the authority to appear without you in Court on your behalf. The attorney is authorized to negotiate, enter a plea and request additional continuances or hearings on your behalf.

But what happens when the entire process is over and you have been sentenced to a fine, some minimal jail time, or asked to complete a rehabilitation class? This is when it gets tricky, but a Criminal Defense Specialist can resolve the problem for you.

It is important to hire an attorney that is experienced and knowledgeable. An attorney that knows the Court well, that knows the Judges and has an excellent reputation for being reasonable and respected in the legal community. Such an attorney can negotiate and discuss the sentence with the Prosecutor and find a comparable program in the state where the person resides so that they do not have to pay the financial burden of coming to California.

For example, David is convicted of possession of a controlled substance and is asked to complete a six month Narcotics Anonymous class. David resides in Wisconsin, and cannot afford to fly to California to complete the classes. His attorney finds a comparable class in Wisconsin that touches upon the pertinent issues and is comparable in length and duration of classes. The attorney then requests that the Judge allow David to complete his classes in Wisconsin, and gets an order that if completed, it will satisfy the rehabilitation requirement. This way David does not have to pay for the expense of traveling to California.

If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to hire an attorney that is a regular in the court that you are being arraigned. It will allow you the flexibility and convenience of addressing any potential sentence from miles away.