Failure to Appear in Court May Increase Your Sentence

By: Wallin & Klarich

Skipping Trial Can Result in Worse Sentencing

On October 27, 2008 the California Supreme Court upheld the 27 year sentence of a man accused of carjacking in California who was absent during the most critical stages of the trial. Ryan Conception escaped from custody, briefly enjoying his freedom several miles away from the court house until he was re-apprehended. While Conception was absent, the trial court permitted the prosecution and defense to make opening statements, and also allowed three key witnesses for the prosecution to testify.

As the trial resulted in a 27 year sentence without Conception having the opportunity to confront his accusers, he desperately appealed the conviction, but to no avail. “That [Conception] found himself detained in another location was, at that point, a circumstance of his own creation.” “A rule that holds an escapee is voluntarily absent from the time he absconds until he can reasonably be returned to court satisfies both constitutional and statutory requirements.”

In other words, it appears if you chose to be absent from your criminal trial in California you will not be given a second chance to confront your accusers. While Conception has sought relief from the federal courts, it remains clear that the best course of action he could have taken would have been appearing in court and consulting with his California felony defense attorneys on how best to fight the criminal charges.

Wallin & Klarich is a law firm with over thirty years of experience in handling criminal matters. Particularly, Wallin & Klarich has aggressively and successfully defended accused criminals in serious felony cases, including carjacking. As Conception failed to notice and adhere to, time is of the essence in criminal cases, and a late or bad start can lead to the worst of consequences for the accused. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, the Southern California criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can be reached 24 hours a day at 1 (888) 749-0034, and you can find more information about successfully defending a criminal case at

Posted In: Criminal Defense