The court is typically strict and unbending when it comes to court dates. If a judge ordered you to attend a hearing or trial for a criminal offense, and you failed to do so, you might face sanctions. Failure to appear is a separate offense from any underlying offense and carries its own penalties.
A Frisco failure to appear lawyer may be invaluable as you figure out the best way to let the court understand why you were unable to attend a hearing or trial. You may be able to avoid a bench warrant for your arrest or mitigate fines and other penalties. Reach out to a dedicated defense attorney today.
In order to keep the criminal justice system running smoothly and efficiently, criminal courts cannot allow a defendant to miss a scheduled hearing or trial. Needlessly rescheduling a court date could lead to a backlog of cases. As a result, if the judge looks around the courtroom and cannot find the defendant, the judge may issue a bench warrant for the person’s arrest.
The law outlines the offense of bail jumping and failure to appear in Texas Penal Code § 38.10. If the court lawfully released a potential defendant from government custody, conditionally on the defendant’s promise to appear, then a violation of that condition is a crime.
A person charged with failing to appeal, with the help of an attorney, could defend themselves by successfully arguing that their non-appearance was unintentional. For example, a defendant could have experienced a medical emergency, a car accident, or had some other legitimate reason that they could not appear in court.
In most cases, a failure to appear is a Class A misdemeanor. The court may punish a violator with up to a year in the county jail. This penalty is in addition to any punishment related to the offense for which the defendant originally appeared before the court.
If the underlying offense was a crime in which the court would only issue a fine, then missing the court date is a Class C misdemeanor. The court may require that person to pay an additional $500 in fines.
If the person released from custody missed a hearing or trial related to a felony, then the failure to appear is a third-degree felony. That means a court could add a penalty of two to ten years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
If the court had called a jury for a trial which the defendant then missed, the defendant might also have to pay the costs related to the jury.
If you believe you might have missed a hearing or trial unintentionally, contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced legal representative could determine if you have a bench warrant, handle any outstanding warrants, and explain to the judge why you did not appear in court. Call the Wilder Law Firm today to make an appointment with a Frisco failure to appear lawyer to discuss any defenses that might be available to you and how you can best protect your rights.