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What are the penalties for California MCLE missed deadline or what if you need a good cause modification?

Missing your California MCLE deadline is not a huge deal if you catch up with your courses and pay the fee. What you absolutely do not want to do is ignore an audit or lie to the state bar during an audit. The is any easy way to lose your right to practice law in California.

If you missed your compliance period deadline at the end of your three-year compliance cycle, you will be assessed a $75 late penalty.

At that point, you are given additional time to complete the requirement before you face the final deadline. Paying the late penalty and reporting compliance after you complete the hours is preferable to facing potential discipline for filing a false report of compliance. The final deadline is June 30th in the year that ends your compliance period.

If you are unable comply by June 30, you have an option of requesting an extension of time. This is called a good cause modification and you must pay a $75 late fee if you have not filed your MCLE report by the deadline.

Good Cause Modification

If you find yourself in a difficult situation that makes it a hardship for you to fulfill your California MCLE requirement, you can file a request for a "good cause modification" to help you to meet your requirements.

There are some situations that make these types of requests valid:

- You live in a remote area that doesn?t have adequate internet access (though in this day and age one might wonder how your are successfully practicing law)
- You have a mobility or other physical health issue that gets in the way of your ability to attend participatory California MCLE activities.
- You have an unexpected personal or family emergency


In these types of situations, you are entitled to make a special request for an extension to the deadline to comply with your California MCLE requirements. You also have the option to request permission to complete all of your 25 MCLE hours as self-study credits.

Whatever is happen that is motivating this request, you must show good cause. You should now that not all requests are approved.

Filing a Good Cause Modification

To submit a good cause modification, you must reach out to the California MCLE Program to request an application and pay the required $75 nonrefundable processing fee.

The application for this type of request is not available online. You must make the $75 payment payable to the State Bar of California. In your request, you can also ask for certain fee reductions.

Inactive Status

Attorneys on voluntary inactive status do not have meet any California MCLE requirements.

Bad Reasons to Request a Good Cause Modification

Here are some types of requests that would not be considered good cause:

- You believe that you personally are not in need of any education in the special requirement areas of substance abuse or of elimination of bias in the legal profession. There is no argument that can be made here.
- California MCLE Compliance is simply inconvenient for you.
- Being busy or having crushing deadlines such as an impending big trial, do not rise to the stand of "good cause" for an extension of time
- You are not actually practicing law (if you are listed as "active", you need to do your California MCLE no matter what)
- You are practicing for a very small amount of time or for very few clients.
- You practice in a specialized substantive area and believe that MCLE is not necessary for you

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