Monday, June 2, 2014

Appearing in Court on Catalina Island (Avalon Courthouse)

Save yourself the time, hassle and expense of traveling back to the island for a court appearance -- Have an experienced, knowledgeable, local attorney do it for you.


Catalina Island, located approximately 22 miles off the coast of Orange County and Los Angeles, California, is home to a small, one-room courthouse.  The courthouse is open on alternating Fridays.  It generally hears only misdemeanor criminal cases and infractions (minor traffic matters, etc.).  Felony cases and more serious matters are usually sent to Long Beach.

The City of Avalon, nestled on the southeast corner of the island, is only home to about 2,200 full-time residents, but the population swells between the months of April and September.  Tourists, fishermen, divers, hikers, families, boaters and adventure-seekers descend upon the community to enjoy the island's temperate climate and unspoiled, scenic beauty.  Each fall, the town of Two Harbors also hosts its Buccaneers Weekend pirate party, a legendary festival that marks both the unofficial end of tourist season on the island and the official beginning of lobster season statewide.

Catalina and its surrounding waters are home to world-famous fishing and diving.  It also hosts several marine reserves and designated "conservation areas".  These areas are not clearly marked, but fishing within one of them will result in heavy fines and possible forfeiture of your gear.  Many visitors are surprised to learn that they've accidentally strayed into a protected area.  They're equally surprised when Fish & Wildlife agents show up, cite them, and confiscate their valuable fishing equipment.  Remember, it is the individual fisherman's responsibility to know and comply with all local laws and regulations.  Ignorance is no defense to the crime of fishing within a protected area.

Visitors are also responsible for correctly identifying their catches and complying with local rules regarding limits, allowable sized fish, season restrictions, etc. California fishing laws are no joke.  As mentioned above, they often carry stiff penalties that may include high fines, jail time, probation, forfeiture of your equipment and an embarrassing blemish on your criminal record.

If you've been arrested or cited while visiting Catalina Island, a quality, local attorney can guide you through the process to ensure that your rights are preserved and that you walk away with the best resolution possible.  Our professional staff will work with you, the court and prosecutors to negotiate a fair disposition to your case.  Our goal is always to make the process as painless and stress-free as possible for you.

Our firm has extensive experience in defending against all types of criminal issues that arise on Catalina Island -- Avalon, Two Harbors, and everywhere in between.  The most common issues we see on the island include DUI (driving a car, a boat or a golf cart under the influence), domestic violence, assault / battery, disturbing the peace, being drunk in public, possession of drugs or paraphernalia, and various fishing violations.  We can often make your appearances for you, without you having to be personally present in court.  Save yourself the time, hassle and expense of traveling back to the island for a court appearance (or a series of court appearances) -- have a local attorney do it for you.

We're familiar with the local judge, court staff and prosecutors.  We know "how the game is played" on Catalina Island and we typically get fantastic results for our clients.  Of course, each case is unique. Past performance is no guarantee of future success.  The results of your case will depend upon its specific facts and your criminal history.

You have a choice in hiring a lawyer.  Many attorneys serve the Avalon courthouse and most of them tout their local knowledge and experience, but I actually know the difference between a Canary Rockfish and a Vermilion Rockfish.

If you've been cited or arrested on Catalina Island, call our office for a free consultation.  (714) 505-2468.  Thanks for reading.