Please Help Me Count to 5, Legally

Let’s say Bob gets a notice that he must respond to within 5 calendar days after receipt, excluding holidays, by filing some paperwork at the local California courthouse. Say Bob gets his notice on Friday. Would Bob’s 5 days end Wednesday or Thursday?

Bob should call the courthouse or his own lawyer and find out, rather than asking for help on the Internet from attorneys who are going to be very gun-shy about giving specific legal advice that could open them up to malpractice liability.

There’s probably a statutory definition within your jurisdiction that sets out exactly how days are to be counted (inclusively / exclusively) in such a situation.

Yep, what I was going to say. Do not assume anything - always be a pedant and look it up or check with a Professional Pedant (or Lawyer).

And if you can’t or don’t want to get to a lawyer in time, assume that the timer started WHEN THE ITEM WAS MAILED and counts weekends against you.
The situation calls for conservative reasoning, and that’s the most conservative position I can come up with.

Unless we’re in Ankh Morpork, I am not an attorney. You are not my client and I am not your lawyer.

Sadly, Bob is a hypothetical man with a hypothetical set of papers. We had a discussion going about crappy things that have happened to you regarding getting tickets, court, etc, and now there is an argument about how days for tickets and deadlines should be counted. We are far too lazy to trot down to the courthouse tomorrow and bug the clerk. Also, we’d prefer not to bug or potentially aggravate court officials whenever possible.

So, hypothetically speaking, who’s right? The Wednesday person or the Thursday person?

I am not your lawyer, or Bob’s lawyer, or the lawyer of anyone you know. What follows is not legal advice and is based on the hypothetical facts given, not any real legal situation. If this were an actual legal question, the message you just heard would have been followed by the admonition to seek your own attorney. Relying on your statement that this is only a hypothetical question about how the legal system works, I proceed. Read on at your peril.

Short answer: Wednesday.

Long answer: I’m assuming your hypothetical is set in California. Your question, therefore, boils down to whether Sunday is considered a holiday, such that you skip Sunday when counting. Because if Sunday is not a holiday, five days from Friday is Wednesday. If Sunday is a holiday, five days from Friday is Thursday.

Start with Code of Civil Procedure section 12, generally, about computation of time:

But that doesn’t tell us whether Sunday is a holiday. CCP section 10 (same link as above) says:

(Emphasis added. We’ll come back to that.) Because we’re thorough, here’s CCP section 135, which isn’t relevant, but does direct us to Government Code section 6700, which states in relevant part:

So it seems that Sundays are holidays, to be excluded from counting, right? Yeah, not so much. I didn’t look very hard for cases, but here’s one. The gist of it is that the defendant made a pretrial offer to settle the case. He had to make that offer at least ten days before trial started for the offer to be valid. He decided to mail the offer, which by law adds five days to the time to do anything. So his offer, to be valid, had to be mailed fifteen days before trial started.

So Sundays are not generally considered holidays for counting purposes unless, as noted in CCP 12, the last day falls on a Sunday.

But why, you ask, is that the case, when GC 6700(a) so plainly states that Sundays are holidays? Back to my bolded sentence in CCP section 10 above: “within the meaning of this Code.” So when CCP 12 says, count every day unless the last day falls on a holiday, CCP 10 tells us what “holiday” means.

Could hypothetical Bob file his papers on a Thursday. Sure. But he’s vulnerable to an argument that they’re untimely, because the last day doesn’t fall on a holiday. Could he make a decent case to the court that he misunderstood the Code? Maybe. Court might even buy it, depending on what’s at stake.

Rules can sometimes be ambiguous and for safety, lawyers will sometimes cut the time short to ensure that they do not open their clients up to an untimeliness argument. I realize this is likely more confusing than helpful, but I’d say Wednesday, without hesitation.

Sunday’s a day on the calendar and not a holiday so I say it’s Wednesday.

Hey, is this the Bob on TV who is doing swell since deciding to go big time. New clothes, new clubs. . .:smiley:

And so, in fifteen words, you managed to say what took me, like, three million words.

OTOH Take a chance, be a sport, live dangerously, procrastinate till Thursday and see what happens!

They have telephoes these days.