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What Happens if You Do Not Show Up to a Court Date?

If you are charged with a crime or issued a citation, you may be required to attend a court appearance at least once. But what happens if you fail to attend your court date?

Below are just a few examples of the potential actions the court may take against you in such a scenario:

  • Bench warrants: A judge will issue a warrant for your arrest, which means you can be taken into custody at any time after that. In some situations, the judge could order police to go to your home or place of work to take you into custody.
  • Jail and fines: A judge could sentence you to jail or fine you if you are found guilty of failure to appear in court or contempt of court (a charge stemming from failure to obey a court order).
  • License suspension: In some situations, a judge may order your driver’s license to be suspended until you appear in court to address your initial failure to appear.
  • Changed release conditions: A failure to appear in court could result in a change in your conditions of release, such as imposing a bond or increasing an existing bond. The judge could also simply require that you stay in jail until your case has officially concluded.

Common Defense Strategy

The most common defense strategy for failure to appear charges tends to be that the defendant did not have sufficient notice of the court hearing. Most of the time, notice will come via the mail. You are responsible for providing the court your current address. If you move and you do not get notice of your hearing, you will not be excused for your failure to appear if you did not update the court.

For the sound legal guidance you need when dealing with the criminal justice system, consult dedicated Reading criminal defense lawyer David R. Eshelman.


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