If you’re charged with a crime, you may be ordered to appear in court. Depending on the charges you face, you may be required to appear several times for the case – for things like arraignments, pre-trial conferences, hearings, trials, sentencing, or other procedures. Summons, or notices are court orders. If you don’t appear as mandated by the order, you have violated a court order and face the contempt of court. That can even mean additional criminal charges.
You could be charged with one of two crimes. Failure to appear, which is a misdemeanor. Contempt of court, which is also a misdemeanor.
There are many actions which can be taken if you fail to appear at court.
- Bench warrant – if you fail to appear, the court can issue a warrant for your arrest. You can taken into custody at any time after the warrant is issued. For example, you could be arrested during a routine traffic stop. If it’s a serious case, the judge may request the police go to your home, and execute the search warrant. Once you custody, you have to remain in jail until a hearing on your failure to appear is done.
- Jail sentence – Judges can impose a jail sentence, or a fine, if you’re found guilty of failing to appear.
- Suspension of drivers license – In some states, judges can suspend your driver’s license. This is effective until you appear before a judge.
- Bond revocation / Change in conditions of release – If the court previously didn’t require a bond, and released you – now the judge could change the conditions of your release and impose a bond. This requires you to deposit money with the court, in order to be released. In some cases, the judge may require you to stay in jail until the case is completed.
Defenses to Failing to Appear
Our NYC failure to appear lawyers can help you create solid defenses that make it apparent to the judge that you didn’t fail to appear on purpose. The court has to give you proper notice in order to prove you didn’t willfully appear. If the procedure is to send notice by mail, then court is required to mail notice your address or the attorney. If your address changes and you inform the court – and you don’t get the notice, then it’s not your fault you didn’t appear.
In the event circumstances beyond your control kept you from appearing in court, such as an illness, an accident, or disaster, then this can be a defense our nyc failure to appear lawyers use to defend you.
If you are a witness who failed to appear in court, then you might face the same penalties as if you were the one being charged with the crime. If you don’t show up as ordered, you could face contempt of the court, and have an arrest warrant issued
Regardless of why you didn’t show up in court, you should consult with an attorney ASAP. Our NYC criminal attorneys know the rules, and can help you.