failure to appearIf you’ve been served with a charge and have a court date to attend, sometimes going and facing the music for your charge is the last thing you want to do that day.  However, not going can make the repercussions of your charge far worse, especially if you had a good chance of getting off to begin with.  You have now wasted the time of the court and appear to be on the run from the law, at least on paper. Do yourself a favor and get there however possible, but if it’s too late and you’ve already missed, or you truly have no other options, let’s look into what will happen.

The consequences of failure to appear in court vary depending on the type of crime at hand and the frequency in which you have missed your hearings. If it is a small type of case and the first on your record, the judge may simply issue a new date and add in a small fine for contempt of court among the other fines you will be required to pay.  They can also issue a warrant for your arrest, if the charge is more serious, or if you have missed your hearing multiple times.

For a small charge such as a parking ticket, you must miss at least two court dates before you can be arrested for contempt of court.  If the reason you cannot come to court is a valid emergency situation, you can sometimes have those fees waived, but it is always a good idea to contact your attorney or the court as soon as possible when you know that such an emergency is occurring and that you will not be able to appear before the court on your particular assigned date.  The above is all relevant for municipal court, and in superior court the situation can get much trickier.

In superior courts, which handle indictable offenses, bail can be several thousands of dollars higher than those for small charges in municipal court.  A repeated failure to appear before the judge when scheduled in these cases can be seen as bail jumping, which is another very serious charge.  If there is a true emergency reason why you do need to miss, be prepared to provide medical documentation and or other valid paperwork to prove this to the court or risk being slapped with even more charges than you started with.

If you have been held in contempt of court for missing your court date, or believe that you are in danger of doing so, you need to work regularly with your attorney to prepare a solid defense for the courts in understanding why it was necessary, and if not, working to minimize the penalties. For a free consultation about my areas of expertise, contact me, Leon Matchin, today at (833) 732-7320 to get started.