December 23, 2007 10:23 PM   Subscribe

LegalFilter: My foolish friend received a misdemeanor in CA for trespassing and apparently needs to be booked and appear in court. She's set to fly to NY for school in three weeks - is she allowed to leave the state?

Imprecise and non-legal advice are welcome if you're up front about it. This is more of a "WTF do I do?" point in the situation than any sort of legal action she's taking.

(If you're curious, she scaled cliffs and climbed through a barbed-wire fence here for kicks.)
posted by coolhappysteve to Law & Government (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would suggest that she start by reading the fine print on whatever paper or summons they issued that says she needs to appear in court, as that might have the details. If not, call the court where she's supposed to appear and ask them. If they say she's not supposed to leave, call a local criminal defense attorney and get professional assistance.
posted by jewishbuddha at 10:29 PM on December 23, 2007

Yeah, now I would read the fine print and lawyer up. My old self would say ignore it... I've been dragged out of buildings on the ground with my hands over my head for 'trespassing' more times than I can count. Nobody cared, she's got some a**hole PoPo action going on.

Not going back to CA soon... ignore it. Ready to deal with it when you return to CA... ignore it... It might be painful later, but misdemeanor crime (esp. trespassing somewhere common) isn't worth worrying about. You only worry when they could extradite you.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:51 PM on December 23, 2007

all is not lost.

by "received a misdemeanor" i assume you mean she signed a citation promising to appear in court at a certain day and time. absent wording to the contrary on the citation itself, which i doubt exists, she's at perfect liberty to travel outside the state in the interim.
posted by bruce at 10:55 PM on December 23, 2007

Advice: Do NOT blow this off.

Back in Spring 1986 I got stopped for not walking my bike in the quad of my college . . .

"chyeah right" I thought, then 5 months later I found myself in traffic court pleading to Da Judge to get rid of the bench warrant that the state slapped on my sorry ass.
posted by panamax at 12:16 AM on December 24, 2007

If she intends to plead guilty, find out if she can plead guilty in absentia as an unrepresented defendant, or if she needs to have a lawyer (presumably the public defender) appear on her behalf to enter the guilty plea. Here's the list of California public defender websites by county.

However, according to this brochure about Californian trespass law (admittedly, it seems to be written for the "GET OFF MAH LAND!" crowd), the maximum penalty is $1000 and/or 6 months' jail, so she'd be best off showing up in person.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:53 AM on December 24, 2007

My gut nonlawyer feeling is: it's just a misdemeanor. I can't imagine that would prohibit her from leaving the state.

She shouldn't blow it off but she's not in line for an ankle bracelet or anything.
posted by Camofrog at 7:06 AM on December 24, 2007

Pick up the phone. Call the court. Ask what to do.
posted by artdrectr at 10:12 AM on December 24, 2007

I'm pretty sure that as long as she actually does return to the state, it should be fine, but I'd still ask a lawyer. Does your area have a call-in radio show like Handel on the Law?
posted by fvox13 at 3:14 PM on December 24, 2007

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