Failing to appear at a court appearance in the criminal law world is a serious situation. If you fail to appear at your court appearance, the judge can issue a bench warrant for your arrest. If you are pulled over, and the police officer runs a check on your name, you will be arrested. If you are out on a bond posted by a bail bondsman, the bondsman may also track you down. When you are caught after failing to appear at your hearing, your bond is going to be revoked. Failing to appear will also result in additional charges being brought against you. This will increase your legal fees, as well as the likelihood that any sentence that may be imposed on you will be higher than it would have been without the additional charge. It will also mean that you will spend more time in the county jail, which is never a pleasant experience. The judge may even increase your bond because of the increased risk that you might flee based on this history. If the bond is increased such that you can’t afford it, and your criminal lawyer trusts is unable to get the bond reduced, you will end up staying in county jail until your case is resolved. That could be anywhere from a month to a year or more, depending on the facts of your case, how plea negotiations go, and whether a trial is necessary. If you fail to appear, flee the jurisdiction to another state and are apprehended there, you will have to be extradited back to Texas and the county where the charges are pending. This process will cause you to also spend further time in jail that could have been avoided.
Failure to appear is punishable as a third-degree felony if the offense for which you were required to appear in court for was a felony. It is punishable as a Class C misdemeanor if the offense for which you were required to appear was punishable by a fine only. For all other situations, it is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor. A third-degree felony is punishable by imprisonment with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for not less than 2 years, and not more than ten years, and a fine not to exceed $10,000.00. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by confinement in jail not to exceed one year and/or a fine not to exceed $4,000.00. A class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.00.
There could be extenuating circumstances as to why you missed your appearance, but your attorney is going to have to convince a judge to reinstate your bond. If you do miss your appearance, the best thing you can do is talk to your attorney before you are arrested. If you communicate with your attorney, he or she can talk with the district attorney and the court, and possibly get the court date reset without you being arrested.
Failure to appear at your court appearance is a very serious situation. If you have hired the experienced criminal defense attorneys to defend you against the charge or charges in which you failed to appear in court for, we can help defend you against the failure to appear charge. If our criminal defense attorneys show up in court for your court appearance, and you do not, if you let us know why you missed the appearance before you are arrested again, we can help to mitigate the damage of missing the court appearance.
If you have not yet hired us to represent you for the charges in which you failed to appear, a criminal defense attorneys can fight to ensure that your rights are protected during this trying time. We will use our years of experience and knowledge to make sure that the police followed all legal procedures when preparing and filing the charges against you. We will investigate fully the allegations made against you. If working together and examining the evidence, you determine that it is in your best interest to have a jury hear your case, we will defend you aggressively and make sure that the jury hears your side of the story. If we determine together that it is in your best interest to accept a plea offer from the district attorney, we will work hard to ensure that you receive the best deal possible.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into failure to appear.