The best thing you can do us retain local counsel. He or she can appear in your absence. Also, a criminal defense lawyer will give you the best chance of success. You will killl two birds with one stone.
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If you can't be there, you will need to hire an attorney to appear for you. Otherwise, a warrant will be issued for your arrest if you fail to appear. Unfortunately, you won't be able to push it back over the phone or prior to the hearing date, especially if you intend to ask for a public defender.
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I agree with the other answers here. I would just add that in some counties the DA is slow to charge first time DUIs, which means the date given on a notice to appear by law enforcement may not be the actual date of your arraignment. Obviously though, you - or your attorney - should appear on the date provided in the citation so a warrant doesn't issue. Good luck.
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As a local DUI Attorney in Santa Cruz, I would advise you to show up for court. There are two judges that handle the Misdemeanor cases... One judge is notorious for issuing warrants, high dollar, when people do not show for court.
I agree with my colleagues above, you should at least retain local counsel and have them appear for you.
Generally, misdemeanors (generally how strait DUIs are charged), don't require the defendant's presence in Court. However, each judge has their own perspective on crimes in their Courts. As a result, you should contact local counsel to give you an opinion as to how the judge will view your lack of presence to determine if it will have an adverse effect on your case as a whole.
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