What do you do if you have been charged with a crime and you missed your court date? This is commonly referred to as Failure to Appear or FTA.
The first thing you need to do is contact your lawyer. If you don't have one, you need to get one right away.
This is critical because a person who misses court is subject to jail, the forfeiture of monies paid for their bond and the loss of their driving privilege. It certainly is not unusual for people who have missed court to be held in jail until their trial date.
One reason to contact a lawyer quickly is that it may be easier to resolve if you act quickly. If the arrest warrant has not yet issued some courts may simply allow an accused to reschedule their court date. Of course the court looks to the reason the individual missed court and different judges may have different views depending on the circumstances involved.
Even if an arrest warrant has issued, it is better to contact an attorney as quickly as possible. In my opinion, courts tend to look more favorably upon someone who tries to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. If the person has not been arrested, a lawyer can file a motion to withdraw the arrest warrant. Whether or not the court chooses to grant or deny this motion will depend upon the reasons the individual missed court and the outlook of the judge ruling on the motion.
If the person is already been arrested, things can get more difficult. A lawyer can file a motion requesting a new bond be set and explaining the reasons the accused missed court but that person remains in jail until, or unless, the judge grants them bond. If the court denies bond, a lawyer can see what can be done to try to resolve the case as quickly as possible. If the resolution does not involve further incarceration the lawyer can try to get the case to court as soon as possible so as to minimize jail time.
Occasionally, lawyers will get contacted from people who have been a fugitive for an extended period of time. It still may be possible to have a reasonable bond set but this will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. Of course it is always best to act as quickly as possible.
If you have missed court and you have an attorney, you need to contact them immediately. If you don't have an attorney you need to obtain an attorney as quickly as you can. If you missed your court date and want our help please feel free to contact us at (256) 533-4529.