Not appearing in court at your scheduled date can have repercussions. Learn more from the experienced lawyers at McLean Mitchell on the blog.

A summons to appear in court is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly, no matter the charge or circumstances. Not showing up in court on a specific date and time can have harsh consequences, so it is critical to have a criminal defense attorney by your side to assist should this happen to you. Judges do understand that emergencies and life can throw a wrench in things, so if there is something that prevents you from being able to show up in court in advance of the day or on the day of the hearing, let your attorney know as soon as possible.

A court date can be rescheduled if done far enough in advance. Sometimes work schedules, child care, essential medical procedures, and other emergency reasons are valid grounds for modifying a court date. If you don’t show up in court, a judge will issue a warrant for your arrest and any bond that you posted will be forfeited. If you are stopped by police in the future, even for something as minor as a traffic ticket or a tail light being out, you will be arrested on the spot due to this warrant. If your court matter involves more serious crime charges, the police are more likely to actively pursue you. With a new arrest, your bond will be a much higher amount and the penalties you’ll face will be more severe. 

A skilled defense attorney can contact the court to attempt to fix the situation if you reach out to them promptly, especially if the reason why you failed to appear in court is a mistake. An experienced criminal defense law firm can request the judge to withdraw the warrant, for example, if the court summons went to a wrong address. But if there is not a valid reason, you will be prosecuted for an additional offense of failure to appear in court (FTA). If your original case involves a misdemeanor, your FTA will become a first-degree misdemeanor. If your matter is a felony, your FTA will elevate to a third-degree felony. Additional months of jail time, a suspended driver’s license, thousands of dollars in fines, and/or court fees are the reality of not showing up in court.

Whether your court date is for a remote hearing or in person, take your scheduled court date with the utmost seriousness and respect. The courts judge a failure to appear in court as you being a flight risk, so you are better off getting guidance from a criminal defense attorney and turning yourself in rather than getting taken into custody. Keep yourself out of the news headlines and list of most-wanted by being proactive, honest, and in regular contact with a trusted criminal defense attorney that will uphold your rights and present your case in the strongest way possible.

With more than 40 years of experience, the criminal defense attorneys at McLean Mitchell have the insight and tenacity to defend your case. As former prosecutors with a successful track record, McLean Mitchell Criminal Defense is committed to helping you clear your name. Get a free initial legal evaluation of your case by contacting us today.