Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
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Can I Bring My Children to Court?

If you were recently arrested for a crime in Orange County, California, you can expect to attend a series of court appearances. Unfortunately, court appearances are not “optional.” So, if you have work, you still have to attend your court hearings. If you don’t have a ride, you have to find a way, whether that means getting a ride from a friend or family member, or even taking public transportation.

If you’re a single parent, or don’t have a babysitter on the day you’re supposed to appear in court – that’s no excuse – you still have to come to court. If you “fail to appear” for a scheduled court appearance because you didn’t find a babysitter, the judge will likely issue a bench warrant for your arrest, which will be sent out to local law enforcement agencies. Once you are apprehended and brought to court, you can expect to face additional criminal charges for failing to appear.

Failing to Appear is a Misdemeanor or Felony

Under California law (Penal Code 1320 and 1320.5), failing to appear is a crime. Essentially, if you’re facing misdemeanor charges and you fail to appear, failing to appear is a misdemeanor offense. If you’re facing felony charges and you fail to appear, you’ll face felony charges for failing to appear in court for a scheduled appearance. Clearly, even if you have no one to watch your children, you have to come to court anyway. Fortunately for Orange County residents, the local courts made this doable.

Where Do I Take My Kids?

If you are a parent who will have to go to court for a series of hearings, ideally, you’ll leave your children with a trusted caregiver, such as your spouse, or a close family member. If that’s not possible, you can bring them to the Children’s Waiting Room, otherwise known as the “Children’s Chambers.”

The Orange County Superior Court’s website puts it this way, “Children’s Chambers is a safe drop-in center for children that lets children be children instead of spending long sessions listening to adult interactions that could be painful or frightening.” We know that for many of our clients – that’s comforting!

We hope the above information puts your mind at ease if you have court hearings coming up and aren’t sure of what to do with your children. If you are facing criminal charges in Orange County, we urge you to contact our firm to schedule a free case evaluation!