Failure to Appear

Failing to appear in court has many very serious consequences.  First and perhaps foremost, failure to appear is its own crime with its own penalties, which can be severe.  These penalties may and often do include jail time and fines.

Failure to appear will also put the defendant‘s bond in jeopardy.  This includes every type of bond, cash, surety, and real property.   In case of a surety bond with a bail bonding company, not only will you forfeit the use of their financial resources, you will forfeit the 10% fee paid for these services.  In addition, the defendant will now have a very motivated bail bonding company seeking to secure the defendant‘s appearance in court.

The first thing that happens when a defendant fails to appear is the issuance of a bench warrant by the court.  If a bench warrant is issues, it is essential to address the warrant as soon a possible.  If the failure to appear was inadvertent or unavoidable, the court will often reinstate bail.  If the defendant fails to address the warrant despite knowledge of the warrant, the court is less inclined to reinstate and may hold the defendant until trial or until alternative bond can be established.

No matter what the circumstances for the non-appearance, it will need to be explained to the court.  A Motion to Quash the warrant will need to be filed and a hearing set.  In the absence of a very good reason for the failure to appear, the court will be less likely to re-release you after you have missed one court appearance.  In addition, even if the court allows a new bail, the bond may be increased as both a penalty and added assurance of the defendant‘s future presence in court.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, failures to appear in court may result in harsher sentencing upon conviction on the underlying crime.   It is simply inexcusable for a defendant to willingly no-show for a mandated criminal court hearing.

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