Most people who receive a citation for a simple offense are allowed to return home and are given an opportunity to pay a fine or appear in court. In some situations, a person may be required to attend a hearing in person to find out the amount of any fine required. Unfortunately, a person with a hectic home life or one who rarely receives citations may fail to attend court. When this happens, a multitude of repercussions can occur, making the original offense quickly balloon out of control. Knowing what happens if you miss your court date will help you handle this potentially stressful situation and make it easier for you to get the matter resolved.
Bench Warrant for Missing a Court Date
The most immediate and detrimental consequence of your failure to appear on your court date is that a bench warrant for your arrest may be issued. This means that whenever the police locate you, they are able to take you into custody immediately. To those who find themselves being arrested for traffic violations or forgetting to pay small fines and attend court, this punishment may seem excessive. In reality, the court is impressing upon you the importance of respecting the judge’s docket. Court dates are set weeks or months in advance, giving a person plenty of time to retain an attorney and have the date postponed, if necessary. Therefore, not showing up and not making an effort to request a new hearing date result in serious consequences.
Revocation of Bond or Release Changes
If you were previously arrested and released without a bond and then failed to appear in court, the judge may decide to change the conditions of your release. After being detained again, the judge may require that you deposit money before you are released again. If you have already posted bond and then did not appear in court, the judge could revoke your bond entirely. This means that you must remain in jail until your case is fully resolved and in some cases, even if you did not post bond before, the judge may still refuse to set you free after you fail to attend an initial hearing.
Additional Fines and Court Charges
There are times when missing a court date is excusable, specifically when something outside of your control such as a motor vehicle accident or serious illness occurs. However, if you simply forget and/or make no effort to communicate with the court, then you could find yourself facing additional fines or charges. A judge can impose fines for failing to appear and could also charge you with contempt of court or other related offenses depending on the history of your case or your actions.
Call Your Lawyer Immediately for Defense Help
If you believe that you have missed a court date, contact an attorney immediately. An attorney can contact the court on your behalf to verify that you did miss a court date, find out if a bench warrant has been issued and see what can be done to rectify the situation. Ending up in jail even for a short amount of time could cost you your job and seriously impact your future. Contact the team at Ellis Law today to discuss your situation and schedule a consultation so that we can begin working on your behalf to resolve your legal matter quickly.