If I do not live in or near Siskiyou County, must I personally attend all of the court proceedings?
Not always. If the court permits upon application of your attorney in a felony matter, you may be excused from attending some of the court proceedings. In such a situation, you must sign an application (called a 977 waiver) in open court. For misdemeanors, a form can be completed excusing your attendance in court for any and all court appearances. For felony matters, if you live out of county, your presence is often excused except for important court dates, such as arraignments, preliminary hearings, entry of plea, and trial.
If I have a warrant for my arrest, what should I do?
If the warrant is for a felony, generally you should voluntarily appear in court on the date set for such matters and ask the clerk to put your matter on calendar that morning. In such situations, it is common for the court to release you on your "own recognizance." That is, generally, you will not be incarcerated and then have to post bail. Again, the facts and circumstances of your case, prior failures to appear (FTA's), and other factors may come into play.
What is a "felony local" disposition?
"Felony local" means that you enter a guilty plea to (or are convicted of) a felony, and that you are placed on probation on the condition that you serve anywhere from zero to 365 days in the county jail. There will be other conditions of probation, such as payments of fines, and consent to the search of your person, vehicle, and home. "Felony local" means that you are not sentenced to state prison. Many cases are resolved on "felony local" disposition ensuring that you do not go to prison unless you violate the terms of your probation.
What are the normal proceedings for felony cases?
After a person has been arraigned, unless he/she waives time, generally a preliminary hearing must be held within ten (10) court days from the date the defendant is arraigned or enters a plea, whichever is later.. If time is waived, there is no deadline for a preliminary hearing.
Should I waive time for a preliminary hearing?
Generally, and if you are out-of-custody, the answer is yes, as it will give your attorney time to conduct an investigation prior to the hearing to interview witnesses and to prepare for the preliminary hearing. The time can also be used to negotiate a favorable disposition with the District Attorney. However, there are situations wherein it is in a client's best interest not to waive time. The facts and situation are determinative.
When are preliminary hearings held?
Preliminary hearings generally are held on Wednesdays, or if time does not allow, on Thursdays. Normally, preliminary hearings for out of custody defendants are held commencing at 1:30 p.m., though generally you have to be in court at 9:00 a.m. to confirm the hearing. If the hearing is expected to last more than an hour or two, it may be specially set for a Thursday or Friday. If you are in custody, the answer is the same except that the normal day for a preliminary hearing is on a Tuesday.
If I am sentenced to "x" days, do I have to serve all "x" days?
Generally not. Normally, if a person is sentenced to county jail time, he/she gets one day of good conduct credit for each day in jail. Thus, if a person is sentenced to sixty (60) days in jail, he/she will have to serve only thirty (30) days in jail. However, there are situations involving "strikes" or other circumstances wherein a defendant will earn less good conduct credit.
If I am sentenced to serve time in jail, may I work at my job during the day?
If you are employed in Siskiyou county, you may be eligible for work release, wherein you work during the day but spend the nights at the county jail. The county jail has details concerning eligibility for that program.
If I am sentenced to serve time in the county jail, may I serve that time in "home detention?"
Generally, if you are sentenced to ninety (90) or fewer days, and if the probation determines that you are eligible for home detention/electronic monitoring, you may be able to serve your time while being confined to your home, unless you are employed. However, in such situations you will not earn any good conduct credit.
If I have a drug problem, and am arrested for possession of a controlled substance, must the court sentence me to jail or to state prison if I am guilty of that offense?
It depends. Often, a person is eligible for Proposition 36 treatment. If so, you will not be sentenced to jail, but instead will be required to participate in a drug rehabilitation program as established by the probation department and/or behavioral health.