Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Cited on Catalina Island
You might be surprised to learn that Catalina Island (located just off the coast of Los Angeles and Orange County, CA), is home to small courthouse. Pictured above, the one-room court is attached to the local Sheriff's station on Sumner Ave., right in the heart of downtown Avalon. Most visitors probably walk right by without even noticing it's there. The courthouse hears low-level criminal matters and is only open on alternating Fridays.
The most commonly charged offenses in the Catalina Courthouse include DUI (yes, even on golf carts), assault / battery, disturbing the peace, domestic violence, being drunk in public, possession of a controlled substance and fishing violations.
If you've been cited while visiting Catalina, you were probably given a "Notice to Appear" (that little, yellow piece of paper), instructing you to return here for an arraignment in about 8 weeks. At your arraignment, you will have an opportunity to resolve the case by simply pleading "guilty", or you may begin the process of fighting your case by pleading "not guilty". This is not the day for your trial. If you intend to fight the case, you should expect to make a series of trips back to the island until your case is resolved. This process can take several months.
As mentioned, the courthouse is only open on two days of each month, weather permitting. During rain storms, the ferries serving the island often stop running. Intermittent ferry service can make it difficult to appear in court. The cost of making several trips back to the island can also be prohibitive -- you're likely to spend more on travel expenses than you will on your court fines.
Save yourself the time, expense and hassle of traveling back to Catalina to appear in court -- have a local attorney do it for you. As a private, local defense attorney, I can make most court appearances on your behalf without you being personally present. My fees are probably less than what you would spend on travel alone.
We have extensive experience in the Catalina Courthouse and we get fantastic results for our clients. A misdemeanor conviction can follow you around and make your life difficult in many ways. Too many people are intimidated by the cost of making several trips back to the island. Rather than fighting for the best possible resolution, they accept bad deals to settle their cases. Don't be intimidated into accepting anything less than the best possible resolution for your matter.
If you or a loved one has been cited while visiting Catalina (Avalon, Two Harbors, or anywhere in between), call us for a free consultation. (714) 505-2468. Ask for John.
Thanks for reading.