Failure to Appear in California Court
Missing a court date is not like missing a dentist appointment. When you are required to appear at a court proceeding, it is in your best interest to make every possible attempt to be there. If you are a defendant in a criminal case, and do not show up for your day in court, in most cases the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest.
If a bench warrant has been issued in your name because of your failure to appear, it is generally only a matter of time before you are found by the police placed under arrest and in jail. Even if the police aren’t actively kicking down doors to find you (they probably aren’t, on a misdemeanor offense), any encounter with the police can is likely to end in your arrest. Even just driving down the street can result in your license plate being scanned and matched with your court arrest warrant.
Can A Lawyer Help Me Fix My Missed Court Date?
Yes. If you’ve missed a court date, and are panicked about what may happen, but haven’t been arrested and charged with jumping bail or failure to appear, it is not too late to fix this problem. In some cases, we can convince a judge to quash the warrant, and get you a new court date, with no further penalties.
We can make sure your side of the story is heard in court. We can help you clear your name and get back on track.
I have a very old Warrant in California. Should I be worried about it?
Unfortunately, yes. Decades old warrants could come back to haunt you. There is no “statute of limitations” in effect if you are technically considered a fugitive from the law. You may live out of state, and go to get your driver’s license renewed and be rejected. If you leave the country, or are not a citizen of this country, it could cause serious immigration problems. And old court records can spontaneously show up in online databases at any time.
The good news with an old case is that, the underlying evidence again you for the original charge may be weak, unprovable, or non-existent. It is possible in cases like this for us to clear the warrant, and get the original charges dismissed, all at once. The opportunity to be free and clear of this cloud hanging over you is nothing to ignore.
But if you do end up being arrested, your defense opportunities are much fewer. And there is a good chance that you will not be considered a good risk to be released, since you failed to show up for court in the past. We can still absolutely fight and win these cases.
But, the smart move is always to address this problem before you are confronted by the law again.
Our experienced defense attorney have handled many failure to appear cases. We want to know about your case, and put that experience to work for you. We are here to help you when you are facing criminal charges like failure to appear in California.
See: Failure to Appear California Penal Code Section 1320
CA Misdemeanor Failure to Appear Laws & Penalties
If you fail to appear for court proceedings regarding a misdemeanor charge, you may be charged with misdemeanor failure to appear.
With any misdemeanor charges, you could face up to one year in jail for this charge, along with fines and a potential suspended license. That is just for the separate failure to appear charge, and distinct from any criminal charge that may have first required you to be in court.
Felony Failure to Appear Laws & Penalties
If you fail to appear for court proceedings related to a felony criminal charge, you will be charged with this additional felony. The punishment for this charge is quite severe at up to one year in state prison and fines up to $5,000.
You have a 14 day grace period to show up to court before it is presumed that you are evading the court process. This simply means that if you miss your court date you have 14 days before the bench warrant is issued and charges of failure to appear are potentially filed.
If you failed to show up for court and are now unsure of what to do, you need the advice of a experienced California defense attorney. We will listen to what happened and give you our legal advice. We can assist you as you wade through the criminal process. The right advice could be the difference between jail time and a dismissal, so please take advantage of this offer.