Document Why You Did Not Make It To Court If Possible
When you do not get to Court, it may be because of traffic, the weather, oversleeping, illness, or a variety of other reasons too numerous to list. Often, there are ways to document the cause of the delay. For example, if an accident tied up the Highway you had to use, listen to the radio stations, and write up a list of which stations were reporting the backup.If you were ill and needed medical care, get a copy of the treatment papers showing you went to the hospital. The idea is to be able to show the Judge that you were not being disrespectful, the reason you were late, or didn't get there at all was beyond your control.
Contact the Court (And Your Lawyer) And Report Why You Are Not There
While this may seem like you are inviting the Court to realize that you are not there, most Courts really appreciate the call, and based on this information, will delay the issuance of a warrant for your non-appearance. Calling your lawyer is just plain good sense, the lawyer can't defend you if he doesn't know where you are. The I DON'T KNOW WHERE MY CLIENT IS argument is not effective at preventing the issuance of a warrant
If Possible, Get To The Court That Same Day, Even If It Is The End Of The Day
Judges who have not issued a warrant at first call, will often hold the warrant issuance until the end of the day. Getting to Court allows you to apologize to the Judge and almost always prevents the issuance of either a warrant or a contempt citation for the failure to appear.
Avoid Not Making It To Court Again
At all costs, make to all future Court appearances. Many Judges will not be forgiving the second time around. In addition, the fact that you have always (or almost always) made it to Court, is a good argument at sentencing, especially if the terms of the sentence are within the discretion of the Court.
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