What Happens If I Miss My Court Date for a Misdemeanor?
Judges expect you to go to court even for misdemeanor charges. Judges rarely excuse missed court dates. Showing up to court late or missing the court date altogether, could lead to severe consequences for you. If you missed court, you might be asking, What happens if I miss my court date for a misdemeanor? As an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney, I understand that missing a court date for a misdemeanor is rarely intentional. Still, you cannot ignore the obligation to return to court and clear the warrant. I can help you avoid the consequences if you contact me as soon as possible after you missed a court date for a misdemeanor. What Are Bench Warrants? Judges in Virginia issue bench warrants to apprehend people who failed to appear in court. A bench warrant allows police officers to arrest you and bring you into court. Police can arrest you at any time they locate you. All the police have to do is run your information, such as a license plate, to find out if you have a warrant. A police officer could arrest you for a bench warrant at a traffic stop or a car accident, even if you were blameless in that incident. Potential Consequences of a Missed Court Date for a Misdemeanor Each case’s particular circumstances will dictate what happens if you miss a court date for a misdemeanor. Virginia law allows the prosecutor to bring out a charge for failure to appear. Missing a court date for a misdemeanor is a Class I misdemeanor. Similarly, missing a court date for a felony is a Class 6 felony. A person convicted of a Class I misdemeanor faces one year in jail. The judge could impose a fine of no more than $2,500. Additionally, the judge could run the sentence on the charge of failure to appear consecutively with the sentences for other crimes. A charge of failure to appear survives even if the court dismisses the charges that brought you to court. The court could hold you in contempt as an alternative to issuing a new criminal charge. The penalty for contempt is a ten-day jail sentence and a $250 fine. Failing to appear in court might trigger a security forfeiture hearing. The court can order you to forfeit the bond posted unless you have a good excuse or the court finds that forfeiting your security would be unjust. What to Do If You Missed Your Court Date Acting swiftly and taking responsibility for missing a court date could help you avoid the severe consequences of failing to appear. Judges tend to look more favorably upon someone who takes responsibility for their actions instead of coming up with excuses. Do not wait to find out what happens when you miss your court date. You should contact my office immediately to prepare to remove a bench warrant or answer to a contempt charge. Should I Get Help from an Attorney? Walking into court alone or waiting until you get arrested could make matters worse for you. The judge could detain you or set a higher bond than previously posted if you go to court without a lawyer by your side. Waiting until you get picked up is highly problematic. You have a lesser chance of successfully arguing against a failure to appear charge if you wait. I can help you gather evidence that shows the judge you made an honest mistake or were incapacitated and could not come to court. I will argue forcefully to prove to the judge that you respect the court’s authority and understand how important it is not to miss court. Call Me Right Now to Discuss What Happens If You Miss Your Court Date for a Misdemeanor Contact my office 24/7 to ask questions about what happens if you miss a court date for a misdemeanor. I limit my practice to misdemeanors and traffic defense so I can help you achieve a favorable result. Call me, Andrew Flusche, attorney at law, today at 540-300-6982 to get the help you need.Continue Reading