It doesn't matter if you miss your court date accidentally or if you intentionally skip your appearance: missing a court date has severe consequences that need to be dealt with immediately.
If you miss a court appearance, it is important to understand the effects of this decision, including how it will influence your bail bond. Read on to learn about the consequences of a missed court appearance and what you can do to remedy the situation.
What Happens Immediately After You Miss a Court Appearance?
Once you miss a court appearance, the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. This type of warrant is known as a bench warrant. However, if your attorney can offer a reasonable explanation for why you missed your court appearance, the judge may decide to hold off on issuing the warrant.
You should realize that it is tricky to convince the judge that there is a permissible reason for why you missed court. The judge might find your absence acceptable if you were deathly ill and unable to contact your attorney, or if you were in a severe automobile accident on the way to court. Make sure to have documentation that supports your excuse, such as medical records or an accident report.
If you do not have a strong reason for missing court, be prepared to face the consequences. It is possible that the judge will increase or revoke your bail, and you will likely face additional criminal charges for skipping your court date.
You should be aware that many districts provide individuals who have missed their court dates with a period of leniency. As long as they turn themselves in with the stated time frame (usually 30 to 90 days), they will not face additional charges, nor will they have their bail revoked.
How Does the Missed Court Appearance Affect Your Bail Bond?
If you originally used a bail bondsman to post your bail, you should understand how the missed court date affects your bail bond. Do not bury your head in the sand and hope the problem will go away; instead, contact your bail bondsman as soon as you realize that you missed your court date. Your bail bondsman can help you get your bail reinstated, even if the bail is higher than the original amount.
You may worry that you will have to pay the full amount of your bail to the bail bondsman because you missed your court date. In most cases, this is not true. Usually, bail bondsmen do not require a customer to repay the amount of the bail unless the customer completely goes AWOL and stops contacting the bail bondsman.
If you neglect to contact the provider of your bail bond, the company can use a bounty hunter to locate you and return you to the authorities. The use of a bounty hunter is a rare occurrence and extremely unlikely to happen if you maintain contact with your bail bondsman.
What Should You Do If You Know You Need to Miss a Court Date?
If you know that you will need to miss a court date, contact your attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you decide what your next step should be.
For example, your attorney may have the ability to request a continuance of your case that moves your court date. Some court systems will reschedule court dates if the defendant can prove that the existing court date will pose a financial hardship.
Ideally, let your attorney know sooner rather than later that you need to miss court. However, even contacting your attorney the morning of your court date is better than no contact at all.
Do you need information about bailing a loved one out of jail? Contact Albert Ramirez Bail Bonds 24 hours a day, seven days a week to begin the process of taking out a bail bond.