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What do I do if I missed my court date and a bench warrant has been issued?

Reston, VA |

I thought that my hearings were scheduled for May 19th but after reviewing the court's docket, my cases were heard on Wedneday the 5th. What do I do? I have two small children and can't go to jail. This was an error on my part as one of the summons had a court date of May 19th and I assumed that they would all be heard on this day.

Attorney Answers 3


The laws on a situation like this have some small variance from state to state, but in general, missing a court date can actually lead to incarceration or fines in addition to those possible in your underlying criminal matters. It sounds like you may have made an honest mistake and the best bet would be to contact the court and advise as to why you missed the hearing date and your confusion as to the dates on the subpoenas, which you later realized were different. I believe it is important that you not let much time go by as the longer it takes for the court to hear from you, the worse it may be to get the bench warrant addressed. A lot can also depend on the judge and prosecuting attorney. If you have any reservations, I recommend you consult with an experienced criminal attorney in your area.

This answer does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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If a warrant has been issued for your failure to appear for a court date, there is a good chance you will be viewed as a flight risk and held without bond once you are arrested. Therefore you need to contact an experienced Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer to assist you with this matter. The lawyer may take steps to have the warrant recalled, if possible, and if not will likely arrange for you to turn yourself in and make arrangements with a bonsman to get you released if the court sets a bond It is imperative that this is done immediately so it is clear that your failire to appear was simply a mistake and not an attempt to evade the court process.

I hope you find this information helpful.

DISCLAIMER: This answer is provided as general information and is not to be considered legal advice, nor does it constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship.

T. Kevin Wilson, Esq.
The Wilson Law Firm
DUI, Criminal & Traffic Defense...When Results Matter
9300 Grant Avenue, Suite 301
Manassas, Virginia 20110

Telephone 888-DUI-LWYR
Telephone 703-361-6100
Facsimile 703-365-7988

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Answered 05/10/2010: I read about your DWI and the bench warrant. When this happens to my clients, we plan to handle it in the same way every time. First, if you have a lawyer, get him to go with you to court. You will need a motion on the docket so that you can show up, argue and avoid jail. The sooner the better. The warrant will be served eventually so perhaps you can catch it before it leaves the court house.
Each County does things a little different and within the county, the various judges also handle things differently so that's why a lawyer can help a lot. You are going to need the lawyer for all cases but if one is in juvenile court and the others in general district court, you won't be able to combine them. The two court dates though give you somewhat of an excuse for not showing up on May 5. Good luck with this.

[Note: Consistent with Avvo policy, this communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]

Brian Geno
Geno Law Firm
Red Maple Court Office Condominiums
10617 Jones Street, Suite 201-B
Fairfax, VA 22030
703-691-GENO (4366) Office
703-691-4774 Fax Email Web Web

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