What Happens If I Miss My Court Date?
When a person is charged with a crime, they are given a court date. Multiple court dates may be required over the length of the case, and missing just one court date could cause big problems for the accused. It doesn’t matter if the crime a person is charged with is a minor traffic violation or a serious felony, failing to show up in court could result in additional charges and penalties. It is not unusual for people to be fearful of appearing before a judge and decide not to do so. Here is what could happen if you miss a court date.
If you miss a court date, a judge may decide to issue a bench warrant for your arrest. A bench warrant allows a law enforcement officer to take you into custody at any time. Depending on the severity of the original charge, you may be arrested when you are pulled over for a traffic offense or attempt to renew your driver’s license. In other cases, you may be actively sought at your home or workplace.
If you posted bail to secure your release following your initial arrest, that bail may be revoked if you fail to appear in court. If you posted the entirety of your bail, the monies you paid could be lost and your bail revoked. Bail that was placed through a bail bonds agent could cause bigger problems. If your bail is revoked, the bonding company could come after you for any collateral that was put up to secure your release. If you utilized a cosigner, that person could be forced to pay up or hand over the collateral they offered as guarantee of your bail.
In some instances, failure to appear for court is a crime in itself. If you fail to appear on a misdemeanor charge, you could be charged with an additional misdemeanor. If your additional charge was for a felony, you could be charged with an additional one. When you fail to appear in court, you could be charged with contempt of court which carries its own fines and penalties.
What You Should Do
It is never a good idea to skip a court date, but things do some up. If there is a valid reason that you cannot make a court appearance, contact your attorney right away. Your defense attorney may be able to appear on your behalf or contact the court to have a new date set. The worst thing you can do is to not appear after having made no contact with your attorney at all. To learn more about the possible consequences of failing to appear in court, contact your attorney.
If you are arrested for a crime in Atlanta and need a criminal defense attorney, reach out to Hawkins Spizman Fortas. Our experienced team of attorneys can stand up for your rights in a court of law. Call today to make an appointment for a free case evaluation.