Randy & Evi Quaid Plead Not Guilty to Felonies

Randy & Evi Quaid Plead Not Guilty to Felonies
Randy and Evi Quaid
P.J. Heller/ZUMA

12/22/2009 AT 05:45 PM EST

After missing a string of court dates, Randy Quaid and his wife, Evi, finally appeared before a Santa Barbara Superior Court judge Tuesday, pleading not guilty to felony charges stemming from a dispute over a hotel bill.

Randy Quaid, wearing a tie and a dark pinstriped suit and sporting a long, bushy Santa Clause-like beard, arrived with his wife early for their scheduled 10:30 a.m. appearance and spoke only to enter their pleas.

The couple, who are accused of charges of burglary, defrauding an innkeeper and conspiracy, were ordered back to court March 1 for a preliminary hearing.

"A lot of things can happen between now and then," Santa Barbara Detective Rod Forney, who worked on the case, tells PEOPLE. "It could be dropped to a misdemeanor or there could be some kind of plea."

The couple could also face a jury trial, Forney adds.

The nomadic pair were originally arrested in Marfa, Texas, on Sept. 24 after allegedly running out on a bill at the exclusive San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, Calif., last summer.

They then proceeded to skip a long list of court dates, the latest of which was Dec. 15. When they didn't show for that one, the couple forfeited a total of $40,000 bond. The judge set new bail at $40,000 each and ordered arrest warrants to be issued.

The judge recalled the latest arrest warrants at Tuesday's hearing and re-instated the previous bail of $20,000 each, negating the later bail of $40,000 each.

The couple have maintained the hotel incident was simply a misunderstanding. Their Texas attorney, Rod Ponton, told PEOPLE last month their bill had been paid in full, and that the charges don't fit the alleged crime.

"They were never on the run from the law," Ponton said. "There's a lot of misinformation out there about this. It's much ado about nothing."

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