Generally, when people are formally charged with criminal offenses or when they receive traffic tickets, they will have to appear in court. Whether it's a speeding ticket (an infraction), a misdemeanor, or a felony offense, they will be required to appear before a judge.
If you have a scheduled court appearance, you have to take it seriously. The court is not concerned if you have class at that day and time, or if you're supposed to be at work, or if you even have an important wedding to attend. Unless you're hospitalized for something critical, the court won't accept any excuse.
'No Excuses' for Missing a Court Date
The court won't care if you forgot all about your court appearance, and it won't give you a break if your car broke down on the way to the courthouse either. So, if you have a scheduled court appearance make sure you show up, otherwise, you can face the following consequences:
- The judge will probably issue a warrant for your arrest,
- If you posted bond or bail, it will be forfeited,
- Your driver's license will likely be suspended or revoked,
- You will probably face an additional criminal charge for "failure to appear," which could mean additional fines and jail time,
- You could be assessed a civil penalty,
- Your case can be sent to collections for wage or bank garnishment or levy.
It's not uncommon for people to miss their court dates. Sometimes they forget all about it, sometimes they're afraid of going to jail, or sometimes something happens, for example, their car breaks down or their baby is born. While some excuses may seem perfectly valid at the time, criminal courts take "failure to appear" violations very seriously.
Whenever a criminal defendant fails to show up for a scheduled court date, it's serious. If the person is on probation, their probation can be revoked and the probationer can be incarcerated. Even if the defendant is not on probation yet, failing to appear is a crime in itself and criminal penalties will be imposed.
If there is a warrant for your arrest after failing to appear, contact a local criminal defense attorney immediately for the legal advice you need during this heated time.