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What Happens If I Do Not Appear in Court?


When a person is arrested on suspicion of committing a crime, they are taken to the police station for booking and are held in custody until they are either able to post the designated bail amount or they released by a judge on their “own recognizance,” otherwise known as an OR release. In exchange for their release, they must agree to show up in court on a set date to face their charges. But what happens if a defendant fails to appear?

You Could Face Additional Criminal Charges

In the event that a defendant should miss their scheduled court date, the presiding judge will usually issue a bench warrant for their arrest. With a bench warrant, a person may be arrested during any encounter with a police officer, such as after a car accident or during a traffic stop. If the defendant failed to appear in relation to a more serious offense, the police will more actively try to search for the defendant and secure their arrest.

If the defendant should still not appear within a certain period of time or provide the courts with an acceptable reason for their absence, the prosecutor may choose to file “Failure to Appear” charges against the defendant. These charges will generally match the severity of the original offense. For example, if a person were initially arrested for a felony offense, failing to appear in court will result in another felony charge and increase the penalties they face.

You Will Forfeit Your Bail

Under normal circumstances, when a defendant posts bail, the amount paid will be returned to them minus any administrative fees as long as they comply with the court’s orders and attend all court dates as instructed. In other words, bail is a monetary promise that a person will show up to court to face their charges. If this promise is broken, however, the entire amount of the bond will be forfeited to the courts – a financial blow which can easily reach six or seven figures depending on the offense. If a bail bond agency was used to post bail, the bond agency will then be responsible for the full amount unless they are able to locate and surrender the defendant to the courts.

Facing Failure to Appear Charges? Dial (480) 418-0776

If you have been charged with failure to appear or any other criminal charge, it is urgent you get in touch with a powerful criminal defense lawyer immediately to minimize your chances of serving serious consequences. At Naegle & Crider Criminal Defense Attorneys, our Mesa criminal lawyers can provide the aggressive advocacy you need to protect your future and freedom.

There is no time to waste – contact us online today to review your defense options.

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