If you find yourself asking 'what happens if I miss my court date?' make sure to continue reading. Chances are, after you're finished with this article, you'll be more than willing to show up to your court appearance, and show up early.
It's a Wise Move to Show Up to Court
To put it simply -- as well as bluntly -- if you miss your court date, there's a good chance the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. Many times, these warrants are not actively pursued when the case involves something minor, such as a speeding ticket. "Not actively pursued" means local cops don't go out of their way to serve you the warrant. Take for example that you were cited for speeding in the next county over from where you reside. If you don't show up to court on your court date, a warrant will be issued; however, picking you up on the warrant probably won't be carried out unless your name is run through the system in that county. Police officers usually don't track people down to serve this type of warrant. The danger, though, comes if you run afoul of the law in that county again - another speeding ticket or other infraction could land you in jail.
Consequences are Worse with Felony and Violent Offenses
If you have a court date for something more severe than a speeding ticket or traffic violation, the consequences for not showing up will likely be harsh. If you miss a court date for either a misdemeanor or felony criminal charge, not showing up will result in the judge issuing a warrant and the cops actively pursuing bringing you in; this especially applies to cases associated with sexual assault, murder, and other violent offenses. Being out on bond and missing a court date results in the immediate revocation of your bond conditions, and police officers will be asked to serve you a warrant and bring you in. This can greatly harshen the consequences and outcome of your current case as well as result in a new case altogether -- missing a court appearance is a crime unto itself. And do keep in mind that if property or money was put up for your bond, the collateral will likely be kept by the court system. This means if you're out on a $10,000 bond and you fail to show up on your court date, the court will keep your money instead of you getting it back.
One Time is Sometimes One Too Many
If you have already missed your court date, there's no need to fret just yet. Simply contact your lawyer and tell him that you would like to inform the judge why you were not able to make it to court. Sometimes, giving the judge a reasonable excuse will lead to him quashing the warrant for your arrest, but this only works one time (and sometimes it doesn't even work once). The sooner you remedy the situation, the better the outcome of your case will be compared to you running for months on end and missing court more than one time.
Rescheduling Your Date Is Possible
Do you have to work on your court date? Can you not get a babysitter to watch your little one? Do you have something more important -- perhaps a surgical procedure -- going on during the time that you're supposed to appear in court? If you answered yes to any of the questions above, take comfort in knowing that rescheduling your court date is possible, and it is in your interest to have it rescheduled rather than missing it. You can either ask the county clerk yourself to reschedule your date, or if need be, your lawyer can ask for a different date. Don't miss your court date! The consequences are never good. Call me, Robert Odle, if you miss your court date or need to reschedule.
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