Yes, you can... You would most likely have to do a notarized plea deal because it is a misdemeanor but you can have an attorney go to court for you. I say this because it is the law under penal code section 977(a). However, if the judge orders you back to court, than you cannot have an attorney show up for you.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call. I also practice in San Diego but am located in Los Angeles.
Mr. Zarabi is in principle correct and he may also be correct for SD County. In many counties, however, it depends on the type of case you want to plead in. Your attorney will not be able to plead for you in a domestic violence case or a DUI case. The judge is going to want to take those pleas with you present. Because you must make a personal waiver of many of your rights to enter a plea in any case many judges will order you to be present. Maybe all it takes in SD County is a notarized document but that would surprise me somewhat. Of course I've been surprised before.
For most misdemeanor and traffic offences, an attorney can appear and enter a plea for you and sign the terms of probation, as long as you authorize it. Most places only require that you check the box on the plea form allowing this, and the attorney has to go over some stuff with you. I've never seen a notorized plea form - they don't use them up here in the Bay Area, to my knowledge. A signed plea form is good enough here.
You can do pleas in absentia on any misdemeanor, in my experience. But that may vary with each court's practices. You will have to sign a Tahl Waiver (waiver of your trial rights and advisement of the consequences of your guilty plea) as well as a plea in absentia form, neither of which have to be notarized (again this may vary by court).
But, hold up a second. It sounds to me like you are accepting a plea deal on a misdemeanor case without first having your case evaluated by an attorney. If that is true, it would be incredibly foolish of you. Often times there are much better options available than what the DA initially offers and you may be making a terrible decision that could cause problems for you for the rest of your life. You should always have an attorney when charged with a misdemeanor. If you can't afford one, the court will appoint one to represent you. When you hire an attorney, you don't hire one to go enter a guilty plea for you, you hire one to evaluate your case and tell you what the best strategic choice is for you to make. Good luck to you.
I am a San Diego attorney and yes we can submit the signed plea on your behalf with out you having to be there in court. In SD it does not have to be notarized.
But I agree with Mr. Pullman. If you are going to hire an attorney to appear for you anyways, you might as well have him look at the case and negotiate with the DA. \
Your lawyer can via PC 977(a) plead for you on your behalf with a notarized waiver if in fact you are pleading to the misdemeanor.
You should try to avoid accepting an offer where you plead to a misdemeanor here.
Note the Caifornia Vehicle Code 22507.8 infraction - basically a non-fraud infraction/ticket that is related to your charged misdemeanor. Your lawyer should try to negotiate a plea to that to avoid a real criminal conviction. Maybe some community service or get a proper placard for a nolo plea to the aforementioned infraction. If in fact the prosecutor agrees to allow you to plead to the 22507.8 infraction, then your lawyer can again do so on your behalf without any written waiver - much easier. No points too on this infraction.
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