Failure to Appear Consequences

Failure to Appear Consequences
If you’ve ever gotten a traffic ticket, been called for jury duty, or received any type of court order, then you probably noticed the court date listed on the document. Don’t remember scheduling it? That’s because you didn’t—unlike other appointments, court proceedings are determined by the court’s schedule, rather than yours. Therefore, even if the timing is inconvenient, you are expected to show up for the proceeding.  Otherwise, you may face criminal charges for missing your court date, as well as numerous failure to appear consequences.

It is against the law for a person to miss any type of courtroom proceeding, including a criminal hearing, civil trial, or jury duty. You can also be charged with failure to appear if you are called in as a witness for a trial and do not show up to testify in court.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, failure to appear may be classified as a misdemeanor or felony charge. You could even be charged for contempt of court in some jurisdictions. Although the penalties for these charges vary based on the laws in your state, you may face hefty fines and even jail time.

Leniency is not often given to those who do not comply with a scheduled court date. In fact, most judges take the crime very seriously, and are quick to impose harsh penalties for individuals who are found guilty of failing to appear in court. In most cases, the only way to avoid such consequences is to provide a justifiable reason for your absence—and mere forgetfulness is not a valid excuse!

So just what are the consequences for missing a court date? That all depends on the original charges against you, but typically, the penalties for failing to appear for a criminal hearing are the most severe. For example, if you don’t show up for a DUI bench trial or DUI jury trial, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. You may even lose your driving privileges and serve time behind bars if you are found guilty.

Failing to appear for a civil hearing or a proceeding in family court can also have serious consequences. Missing a scheduled family court date can lead to contempt of court charges and penalties such as jail time and fines.

The failure to appear consequences for a civil court hearing are also severe. If you are the plaintiff in the case, or the person who filed the lawsuit originally, you can expect the case to be dismissed if you are not present for the event. On the other hand, if you are the defendant (the person who has been charged), you may face criminal penalties, including jail, fines, and a license suspension.

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