The court has its timetable; it can’t spend the whole day for you. As the court has to deal with many cases, each has a fixed date and time. You’re bound to follow the timing; the court is not bound to wait for you.
Missing a court date is equal to violating the law; if you missing your court date, there would be some actions taken against you. The court may even order to arrest you, fine you or sentence you for that.
The judicial actions are different; they vary due to the case category, person’s crime, the situation etc. Let’s know the detail about what if you missed the court date.
The Results When You’re a Convicted
If you’re convicted and missed your court date, it will be a criminal offense. The jury can take action called a bench warrant. It’s an arrest warrant against you as you violated the court’s order. If the criminal case is a minor one, they can spare you.
If you get arrested for a bench warrant, you need to appeal for bail and show a valid reason for missing the date. Then you’ll have to wait for the bail hearing date; you’ll have to be in police custody till then.
If you can show any valid reason such as an accident or an emergency, you may get bail; but you have to sign a bond that you won’t act such further.
Discretionary Bench Warrant
The discretionary bench warrant is like a second chance for the convicted to explain himself due to missing the court date. The court will adjourn your case that day and ask for your explanation. It’s the court with your lawyer without wasting any time.
But don’t misuse the second chance because if you miss the next date, the court will issue a bench warrant. Remember, the further actions against you will be worse than before.
If It’s a small criminal case or a traffic case, the court can fine you up to $300- $400. The amount can increase if the charges on you are severe; you miss the court’s date.
Revocation of Bond
It’s a state when you repeatedly miss the court’s date; when you already were charged with a bench warrant. If you go to jail due to bench warrant and get released with a bond, but you miss the date again your bond will be revocated.
You will be in jail as a punishment until your case is solved and you’re proved innocent. Sometimes, the court can put additional charges on you too.
Consequences of Felony and Violence Offences
If you’re accused of a murder case, sexual harassment or domestic violence, the law will be more strict to you. You may face multiple charges and punishments because missing the court’s date is considered as felony or violence offense.
That’s why you have to be more conscious if you already have the severe criminal charges.
Try to Avoid Judiciary Action
If you already know that you’re going to miss the upcoming court date, inform your lawyer quickly. If you inform him/her, he/she can save you from the charges of violating the court’s order.
The Result When You’re the Prosecutor
The law remains the same for the defendants and prosecutors or witnesses. If you’re not charged for a criminal case, you’re the prosecutor or a witness; you should also follow the rules. If you somehow miss the court date, you can be charged too.
There are two terms related to that they are:
Failure to Appear:
Failure to appear is considered a minor crime for the prosecutors and witnesses. They are not generally charged for failure to appear, but the rules vary in different states.
Contempt to Court:
This is the crime if you don’t obey the court’s orders or intentionally miss the date. The court can charge you with a short sentence or fines for that.
Your Licenses and Passports May Be Seized:
In some criminal cases, the court can order to seize your passports so that you can’t move and also suspend your licenses.
Try to be regular on the court if you’re a prosecutor; otherwise, it seems that your allegations are weak and you’re trying to waste time. If you need time to gather evidence and witnesses, you should appeal to the court to grant you some time.
If the Lawyer Fails to Show Up
If the lawyer you hired fails to appear on the court date, you should inform the judge without wasting any time. The judge can grant you a continuance, which means the hearing date will postpone.
The next date will be at least thirty days later, which is a long time. During that time, make sure if your lawyer is willing to work on your case or not. If he is willing and shows any valid reason, you can continue working with him. Elsewhere, you have to hire another lawyer.
If you’re a lawyer, keep the court date in your mind and try to be punctual. If you miss the court date, the court can put charges on you. It will be harmful to your professional profile as well if you’re a criminal defense lawyer.
If you keep missing your court dates, the court may cancel your lawyer’s license by checking your previous records. As a result, you can’t practice as a lawyer for some time.
Missing the hearing date is not a good practice unless you have a strong reason. If you intentionally or unintentionally miss the date, the situation will worsen, and It’s not easy to manage.
It’s not impossible to sort out the problem; you can get the mercy of the court if you can prove that you had a valid reason behind missing the date. Contacting the lawyers or the judge and getting legal documents are lengthy processes.
Your each activity will affect the winning chances of the case as well as your professional image. Knowing the consequences will help you to be more conscious about the court’s date.