Go online and check to see if you can pay the fine. If not, you can hire an attorney to appear on your behalf, or you will have to go to court. If you're convicted, you can apply for expungement a year after the conviction, or after probation ends, if you get probation. I do suggest that you hire a local criminal defense attorney. Good luck.
You should call the Clerk at the Whittier Courthouse (or the court where the case will be heard). If it is an infraction, you can pay and not go to court. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you or an attorney for you must appear in court.
Seth Weinstein, Esq.
Southern California Criminal Defense Attorney
This reply should NOT be considered a legal opinion of your case / inquiry. At this time I do not have sufficient factual/legal documentation to give a complete answer to your question and there may be more to the issues you raised then I have set out in my brief reply.
If this is filed as a misdemeanor a court appearance is necessary. On misdemeanors attorneys can appear on your behalf. You will not need to miss work and attend court. An attorney may also be able to work out a disposition where you will be able to get the case dismissed. An expungement is only available after a conviction. You want to avoid a conviction if you can.
This misdemeanor requires a court appearance, which can be made on your behalf if you retain an attorney privately. Your attorney can usually take care of the entire case without you having to appear in court if you specifically authorize him or her to do so on your behalf.
If the case is defensible, an attorney will be able to review the paperwork and advise you on that. Even then you do not necessarily have to be present - even for trial!
If the case resolves by plea, it can do so only if you authorize a plea and the proposed resolution. Expungement would be available in the future once ll terms and conditions of probation are satisfied and at least a year has passed from the date of sentence.
Call me for info on my fee schedule.