What is the difference between failure to appear and guilty in absentia?
4 attorney answers
If you were found guilty in your absence in the general district court, you can still appeal within ten days to have a trial in circuit court.
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Failure to Appear is a contempt charge which comes into play when someone fails to appear in court and the matter is serious enough that the prosecution and/or Court is not willing to proceed without the accused present.
Guilty in Absentia means although the accused didn't come to court, rather than issuing a contemporary charge for Failure to Appear, the case was heard without the accused present and the accused was found guilty.
You can only be found guilty in absentia (Guilty when you didn't appear in court) for charges that do not carry the possibility of jail time. If the Commonwealth (the prosecution) does not waive the possibility of jail, you cannot be tried when you are not present and a failure to appear will be issued against you - a new charge punishable by an additional 10 days in jail.
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Failure To Appear, means just that the party was supposed to appear and did not. This could mean there is a warrant issued for the arrest of the individual.
Guilty in Absentia means that the party had an option to appear to dispute the charge and did not. The Judge heard the case and found the defendant guilty.
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