What To Do If I Miss My Court Date

After you are awarded bail, the court appearance is scheduled. Depending on the seriousness of your charges, this initial appearance could be your last or the first in a long line of court proceedings. Unfortunately, if you miss this court appearance, the conditions of your bail are revoked and there is a warrant placed for you arrest. Skipping bail is one thing, but what if you were unable to make your court date because of an illness, a family obligation, or you simply forgot?

Here is what to expect and what to do next if you miss your court date.

Possible Consequences of Missing Your Court Date

The consequences of your missing your court date after posting bail are dependent on the seriousness of your crime and potentially, your past criminal behavior. For example, if the charges are minor, such as petty theft, disorderly conduct, or a traffic stop, the judge may allow you to reschedule your hearing or issue a summons, which is an order to appear before the court.

However, if the offense is serious or you have a criminal past, the judge may order a bench warrant. According to Nolo, a bench warrant is issued when a defendant fails to appear before the court as scheduled. Like a traditional warrant, when the bench warrant is issued, the police are notified, and if the suspect is apprehended, they are brought before the judge.

If you are picked up on the bench warrant, the judge could impose a variety of punishments. For example, you could face additional jail time that is tied to the failure to appear. This jail time would be in addition to any jail time you face after you are sentenced to the crime committed. The judge could levy additional fines, or depending on where you live, you could have your driver's license revoked.

Missing your court appearance could result in a revocation of your bond. If you were released on bond, the judge could order a bond hearing, which means you could be left in jail if you are not able to post bond. If there is a bond hearing, hiring an attorney can help ensure you receive a fair bail amount.

The judge could order you to remain in jail until your court date.

Turning Yourself In  

If you miss your court date, do not panic, and instead, contact an attorney and make arrangements to turn yourself in to the court. Your attorney will contact the clerk of courts to determine the next steps. For example, if the charges were minor, the judge could provide you with a new court date or allow you to appear before the court without facing any consequences of missing your appearance.

In cases where a bench warrant was issued for your arrest, and the judge is ordering you to appear before the court or be held in jail before your court appearance, your attorney can make arrangements for you to turn yourself in peacefully. Ask your attorney to recommend the best way to surrender yourself to the authorities.

For example, if you have kids, your attorney can work with the courts to allow you to surrender yourself at the police station. You may prefer to surrender yourself at home. In this scenario, the police will come to your home and you will be placed under arrest.

Missing your court date could have seriously negative consequences, including increased jail times and fines. Don't try to run or ignore your missed court date, and instead, contact an attorney to determine what you can do to protect yourself and avoid getting into more trouble than is necessary.

For more information, get in touch with a lawyer such as Raymond Martinez Attorney at Law.